Is Ron Francis A Good GM?

I don’t know much about hockey, but I’m willing to learn. So, I’ll try to trickle in some posts related to the new Seattle team (still without a name). As such, here’s a little blurb about the Seattle Hockey Guys hiring Ron Francis to be their first general manager.

He’s an NHL Hall of Famer and sounds like one of the greatest of all time. That’s awesome. But, does being an elite player qualify you for the GM job?

He was the GM at Carolina from 2014-2018. At that time, they were coming off of five straight seasons outside of the playoffs, finishing 13th in the conference the year before he started. In his four seasons, the Hurricanes never made the playoffs, with mediocre finishes each year. He was fired in 2018, immediately before they finished 7th in the conference and making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals (getting swept by the Bruins) this past season.

So, obviously I have a lot of questions. First and foremost, how easy is it for teams to turn things around from being dreadful to decent? It sure seems like this most recent Hurricanes team was built by and large by Francis (at least the top three position players by points were holdovers). But, the goaltending looks like it was a total revamp, with a couple of journeymen veterans coming in and playing the lion’s share of the games. Which leads me to the question: how important is goaltending to winning? Like, if you divided up the pie, is it 50/50? Is it more than half? Is goaltending everything?

What I don’t really know, but hope to find out thanks to the hard work of others, is how well did he draft? Does he have a solid plan for team building? Did he set up the Hurricanes to be successful for years to come? Or, did a mediocre team come together thanks to improved goaltending? I mean, I’d be happy to look into it, but I’m getting ready to go on a 5-week road trip at the end of the month, so I don’t have a lot of free time to dig into it.

I guess my biggest question is: how much of it is a total crapshoot? In baseball, it feels like the biggest crapshoot of all the major professional sports. Basketball feels like it’s pretty predictable for the most part (who’s going to be good coming out of the draft, vs. who’s just going to be a role player). The NFL is somewhere in the middle. So, where is the NHL?

We’ll find out, soon enough.

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