Report: Seattle close to naming Ron Francis GM

The NHL's Seattle expansion franchise is close to naming Ron Francis the team's inaugural general manager, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Francis would become the first major front-office hire owners David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Tod Leiweke have made.

Francis is largely responsible for building the Carolina Hurricanes team that made it to the Eastern Conference Final in 2018. He joined the club's front office prior to the 2006-07 season before being named director of hockey operations in 2011, and then general manager and executive vice president of hockey operations in 2014. His contract was terminated on April 30, 2018 - shortly after the arrival of new owner Tom Dundon.

Francis didn't make many major trades during his time in charge of the Hurricanes, and his two biggest moves led to a home run and a strikeout.

In 2016, he took on Bryan Bickell's contract to land Teuvo Teravainen from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a second-rounder and a third-rounder. Teravainen has become a core player for Carolina, and the 24-year-old is coming off a career-high 76-point season.

Francis' worst move was also a trade with the Blackhawks. Needing to find a solution in goal, Francis surrendered a third-rounder for Scott Darling, and then handed the netminder a four-year, $16.6-million contract. Darling struggled mightily with the Hurricanes, and he was traded to the Florida Panthers this summer then bought out.

Francis has often prioritized drafting and developing young players as a GM. In 2015, he made one of the best draft picks in Hurricanes history, landing franchise cornerstone Sebastian Aho in the second round (35th overall).

Seattle is scheduled to begin play in the 2021-22 season.

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