Well this is certainly a very interesting and rather unexpected turn of events.
For several days now we have been hearing that Carolina Hurricanes general manager and team president Don Waddell had become the leading candidate to become the next general manager of the Minnesota Wild organization. The Wild of course have recently fired their former general manager in Paul Fenton and Waddell was believed to have leapfrogged former Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall for the top stop on Wild owner Craig Leipld's shortlist.
The rumors were very juicy indeed because Waddell's contract had been allowed to lapse by the Carolina Hurricanes and their new owner Tom Dundon, a move that many believed indicated some sort of rift between Waddell and Dundon. Additionally there has been rampant talk of Dundon refusing to pay his people what would be considered fair value around the rest of the NHL with the highly successful businessman preferring to set his own salaries for certain positions. This resulted in Waddell meeting with another NHL team, in this case the Wild, while seemingly also being the active general manager of a rival franchise in the Carolina Hurricanes.
Now it is unclear how serious Waddell was about taking the job for the Wild, but what is clear is that the interview may have served as a major piece of leverage for Waddell in his negotiations with the aforementioned Dundon. Now according to a breaking news report from Minnesota Wild insider Mike Russo, it appears that Waddell has informed the Wild that he is taking himself out of the running for the job after signing a multi-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes organization.
The Hurricanes have released a pair of official statements to announce the news, the first coming from Dundon himself.
“Don’s leadership and experience are invaluable to our organization and I’m happy we were able reach an extension,” Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said in the team’s press release. “Don and I have a great relationship and he is someone I trust. I’m excited to continue to build a championship team with Don.”
Waddell himself has also released a statement confirming the report from Russo.
“I’m thrilled to sign an extension with the Hurricanes and I look forward to continuing the success we experienced last season,” Waddell said in the press release. “We have a first-class organization, a great fanbase and a team we feel is built to contend for the Stanley Cup. My family and I are excited to stay in Raleigh for years to come.”
A tough break for the Wild, especially considering he was their leading man for the job, but fans in Carolina are likely breathing a sigh of relief considering how quickly Waddell has turned around the fortunes of their beloved franchise.