It’s official. Head Coach Bill Peters has opted out of his contract with the Hurricanes and is now free to pursue other coaching opportunities. Peters coached four years with the Hurricanes, finishing with a 137-138-53 record. In his four years, the Hurricanes finished with 71, 86, 87, and 83 points.
This move has been expected for some time now. Ever since Tom Dundon became majority owner of the Hurricanes, we got the sense that a shakeup was coming. The first shakeup came pretty quickly, as Ron Francis was removed from the GM role and “reassigned” before the regular season ended.
Was this the right move?
Yes, it was. Bill Peters is a good hockey coach. Unfortunately for him, his negative qualities heavily outweigh his positive qualities. Again, Peters is a good coach, but he isn’t the guy that we need. He was the right guy to bring in for the rebuild, but the team needs another face to push them over the hump.
Peters was definitely a coach that built a strong system. The Hurricanes have been one of the best puck possession teams under Peters. They generate the most shots in the league. There is no doubt that the system that Bill Peters built was strong. All of the stats look like this was a very good team under Peters.
Unfortunately, the numbers don’t show everything. Peters will be remembered in Carolina for over-slotting AHL players, burying Jeff Skinner, and MAFS. Jeff Skinner is an elite goal scorer, but for two years he has been stuck playing with Derek Ryan, Phil Di Giuseppe, and Lee Stempniak. Joakim Nordstrom puts up maybe a point every couple of months. But, he was a staple in the lineup.
Even when the Canes would make a move and call up a promising AHL player, or acquire someone via waivers, it seemed as if Peters didn’t put them in a position to succeed. While that isn’t all on Peters, it became an increasingly frustrating occurrence as the team struggled to find signs of life. The roster as currently constructed is arguably good enough to be in the playoffs. I believe that. Peters just didn’t seem to be able to put our players in position to succeed.
I could sit here all day and bash Peters, but I won’t. He is still a good coach. He is going to find a new job very soon. He grew up in Alberta, which is close to Calgary. He is the frontrunner to become the new coach of the Flames. He has also been linked to Dallas, since he has ties with GM Jim Nill. The fact that Peters is already being considered for another head coaching job shows you that he isn’t all that bad. He just isn’t what the Hurricanes need right now, and that’s fine. I hope Peters does a fine job wherever he ends up.
Who will replace him?
According to Bob McKenzie, Rod Brind’Amour is a candidate for the head coaching gig. I love Rod, but he isn’t the guy. I’m not even going to look into the powerplay and the offense which has been what he is in charge of. I’m just going to say that this is an organization that has missed the playoffs nine years in a row. Rod has been here for a good portion of that. Hiring from within isn’t the route to go. This team needs a fresh set of eyes to lead them back to the playoffs.
Although he’s technically within the organization, my top choice for the job is Charlotte Checkers coach Mike Vellucci. Vellucci is also the assistant GM for the Canes. He has done an excellent job in his two years with the Checkers. He seems to be a highly respected hockey mind and he has gotten the most out of his players in the AHL. Vellucci was also a successful coach in the OHL with the Plymouth Whalers, winning the OHL’s coach of the year and executive of the year awards in 2012-2013. Everything looks good for him. He’s realistically the leading candidate for the job.
I could name off a few more candidates, but it’s really pointless at this point. The team needs to focus on hiring a GM, and then the new GM should be able to bring in their own coach. That’s how it should work. Anything at this point is just speculation.
Either way, it is nice to see the team making changes. For a team that was supposed to be in the playoffs that instead regressed, the change was needed. With a new owner and soon to be a new GM and Head Coach, the organization is moving forward.
I wish Bill Peters the best of luck in the future, please just don’t ruin Johnny Hockey………