Jim Rutherford – Carolina Hurricanes (1994)
The opposite of Lou Lamoriello as far as experience is considered, Rutherford was a National Hockey League goaltender for several NHL teams before joining
the Hurricanes organization. Rutherford tended the crease for the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Los Angeles Kings from 1969-1983. He was drafted 10th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1969 draft.
Since 1994 he has been part owner, President, and general Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes (he held this capacity with the Hartford Whalers up until the end of the 1996-1997 season when the team moved to Carolina). His Carolina Hurricanes have won one Stanley Cup – defeating the Buffalo Sabres before going on to knock out the Edmonton Oilers to claim the 2006 Stanley Cup.
While the Hartford Whalers failed to make the playoffs in the final three years under Rutherford – the Hurricanes have had little success finding the playoffs as well, only reaching the post season five times since taking up shop in the Carolinas. When they do make the playoffs however, they usually go in style, winning their division three times, and grabbing two Eastern Conference titles as well.
In speaking with a good friend of mine who is plugged into the Carolina franchise, general consensus of the fan base in Carolina is a change needs to be made at the general manager position, especially after this off season when little was done to increase the productivity of the on ice product, especially in the defensive corp. The fact that he is a part owner may make a change here very difficult however. Like Darcy – having the ear of the ownership group, this time by virtue of being a member of ownership, has Rutherford in a safe position to remain GM for the foreseeable future.
Now members of the Metropolitan division with more perennial contenders, the Carolina Hurricanes may have a difficult time making the post season a regular occurrence in Raleigh.