It seems as though the recent changing of the guard in Carolina will affect the Checkers in some way at some point, though new General Manager Ron Francis did not offer specifics at Monday’s press conference.
While announcing the release of head coach Kirk Muller and assistant coaches John MacLean and Dave Lewis, as well as the reassignment of goalie coach Greg Stefan to a scouting role, Francis gave mostly vague answers to a few questions concerning the team’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte.
On if he knew what role current Charlotte coach Jeff Daniels might having going forward, Francis offered the following:
“I don’t. I have meetings with Jeff scheduled for this week, so we’ll get a better handle on where he’s at and look at things going forward for him as well.”
On if he planned to continue his complete reevaluation of the organization down to the team’s development grounds in the AHL:
“We are looking at everything. There has been a lot of time spent and there will be more time spent going forward here with all kinds of meetings and trying to get our hands around everything and the areas we can improve and get better.”
Though Francis did not name any names in regards to who his first hire as head coach might be, it did seem clear that he’s willing to cast a wide net in his search. Upon hiring Muller in the fall of 2011, Jim Rutherford, Carolina’s general manager at the time, said that he felt Daniels was prepared to be a head coach but that Muller brought more of a fresh perspective.
After 14 consecutive years with the organization, including the last five as head coach of the AHL affiliate, it’s unclear whether Daniels will get the same amount of consideration for the top job with Carolina this time around. Based on Francis’ brief and non-committal comments about his future, it seems as though just about anything is possible moving forward.
Francis said the he hoped to have a new head coach in place in time for the NHL Entry Draft in late June. Even if the Hurricanes make an outside hire and Daniels remains behind the bench in Charlotte, the Checkers would still be likely to tweak their style of play based on the preferences of Francis and the new coach in Carolina.