The Carolina Hurricanes are now in the market for a new general manager and head coach.
Bill Peters announced Friday that he was resigning as coach after four seasons, opting out of the final year on a contract that was to pay him $1.6 million. Peters has been mentioned as a leading candidate for the Calgary Flames’ head-coaching job.
“I’m leaving with no regrets,” Peters said Friday. “I wish we could have done more and won more, obviously, but I think the team is set up to be successful, I truly believe that. "
Hurricanes majority owner Tom Dundon, in a statement, said, “I have a lot of respect for Bill as a person and coach. We thank him for his time with the Hurricanes and wish him success in whatever comes next.”
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Dundon reassigned general manager Ron Francis in March, moving him into the position of president of hockey operations.
Possible candidates for the Canes coaching job -- and the calls starting rolling in Friday to interim general manager Don Waddell -- could include Charlotte Checkers coach Mike Vellucci and Canes assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour.
Vellucci, an assistant general manager for Carolina, has the Checkers in the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoffs and was a longtime coach and GM with the Plymouth Whalers in the Ontario Hockey League.
Brind’Amour, the Canes captain on the 2006 Stanley Cup champions, retired as a player in June 2010 and has been a Canes assistant coach the past seven seasons. He has handled the forwards and the power play, has the respect of the players and at age 47 could be ready for his first heading-coaching assignment.
Peters, 53, came to the Canes in June 2014 with no NHL head coaching experience, having spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings under then-head coach Mike Babcock. He had a four-year record of 137-138-53 with the Hurricanes.
“I want to thank Tom Dundon, Peter Karmanos and Ron Francis for the trust they put in me to lead the team,” Peters said in a statement. “I feel the incoming general manager should have the ability to hire his own head coach. I also want to thank Don Waddell and the entire front office and PNC Arena staff. This business requires hard work and long hours, and I greatly appreciate the efforts of the many people I have worked alongside during the past four years.
" I feel like this is a good time to move on, and I am looking forward to my next challenge.”
Peters, well-respected in hockey’s coaching ranks, has been named head coach for Team Canada in the 2018 World Championship for the second time in three years. Canada won the gold medal in the Worlds under Peters in 2016.
Peters tended to deflect questions about his coaching late in the season. After the Canes closed with a 3-2 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 7, Peters was asked how disappointing it was to miss the playoffs and what more he and the coaching staff could have done with this year’s team.
Peters replied, “It’s disappointing for sure. We needed to win more games, right?”
The Canes last reached the playoffs in 2009, advancing to the Eastern Conference finals — Carolina’s only playoff appearance since winning the Cup in ’06.
Dundon, in assessing the season, said, “It’s fairly obvious on the hockey side we aren’t good enough to make the playoffs. The record tells you who you are. We were pretty healthy, and we weren’t good enough.
“We’re probably not hard enough to play against. We probably don’t score enough. And there’s something missing in terms of our engagement.”