Former MSU star Rod Brind'Amour, Hurricanes reach extension after three playoff bids
Rod Brind’Amour never worried much about being able to reach a deal to remain coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.
“It was just a matter of time really,” Brind’Amour, a former Michigan State standout, said Thursday as the team announced a three-year contract extension.
The extension comes after Brind’Amour guided the Hurricanes to three straight playoff appearances, along with him being named one of three finalists for the Jack Adams Award presented annually to the NHL’s top coach.
The team announced the agreement a little more than a week after the Hurricanes were eliminated by reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay in the second round.
The 50-year-old Brind’Amour’s contract ran through this season, though the captain of Carolina’s 2006 Cup winner and owner Tom Dundon had made public comments in recent months indicating they expected to reach an agreement — with Brind’Amour saying in early May: “Everybody knows I’m a Hurricane.”
Brind’Amour held a virtual news conference alongside president and general manager Don Waddell on Thursday morning.
“Don and I talked throughout the year, occasionally,” Brind’Amour said. “I thought we were on the same page. … He knew I wanted to be a part of this. I knew he wanted me to be a part of it, too. So we figured it out.”
Now he’ll remain with the franchise where he also played in the 2002 Stanley Cup finals and worked as an assistant coach before guiding a resurgence from a nine-season playoff drought.
“I would have a hard time thinking I could do the same job I’m doing here somewhere else because this is a part of me,” Brind’Amour said. “This place, I’ve been here forever. Again, it’s more about the people that I get to come to work with everyday. That wouldn’t be the case somewhere else. It just wouldn’t be.”
While an agreement was expected, Brind’Amour said it took time to make sure he has “the right people around me” before reaching a deal. Brind’Amour pointed to support staff ranging assistant coaches to training staff and equipment people.
“That’s why I think part of it took so long is a lot of people, we had to figure out,” he said. “We’re at that point where we’ve pretty much done that.”
Waddell described the negotiation as “on the easy side” because of the long-standing relationship.
“We talked early on that it was important to get the whole group done,” Waddell said.
Brind’Amour, who took over in 2018, took his first team to the playoffs and beat reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington on the way to the Eastern Conference finals. Then came a trip to the Toronto bubble last summer and a qualifier-series win in a second straight playoff appearance.
This year marked the first time the franchise had made three straight playoff trips since relocating to North Carolina in 1997 from Hartford, Connecticut. The Hurricanes won the Central Division title for the team’s first division crown since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, and remained in the hunt for the Presidents’ Trophy for best regular-season record to the final week of the schedule.
Carolina beat Nashville in a six-game first-round series before falling in five games to the Lightning in Round 2. And much of Carolina’s core is under contract, including star center Sebastian Aho and top defenseman Jaccob Slavin.
Brind’Amour is 120-66-20 in the regular season over three seasons and 17-17 in the playoffs.
He spent half his 20-season NHL career with the Hurricanes after starring for the Spartans in 1988-89. In his lone season in East Lansing, he was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association rookie of the year after leading Michigan State to CCHA regular season and conference tournament titles and to the Frozen Four.