The Carolina Hurricanes signed executive vice president and general manager Ron Francis to a contract extension through the 2018-19 season on Tuesday.
"It was actually pretty simple," Francis said of getting the contract done. "I worked on the extension for [coach] Bill Peters and got that done and a little bit after that when [Hurricanes owner] Mr. Peter Karmanos Jr. was in town and walked into the office and said alright now I want to take care of you. We sat down and he told me what he would like to do and I said 'Pete, that's fair and that's how quickly it went.' It was a matter of getting things signed. I was out of town so we got to announce it today.
"I'm really excited about it. Appreciate the fact he was willing to give me the extension. I think as a management team and coaching staff we're going in the right direction so it's exciting to have the opportunity to continue that and see it get better and better as we move forward."
Video: Hurricanes GM Ron Francis on contract extension
After improving by 15 points in the NHL standings last season, the Hurricanes traded for forwards Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell, and signed free agent forwards Lee Stempniak and Viktor Stalberg during the offseason to add to a young core including defensemen Noah Hanifin and Justin Faulk.
"I think for us when we first came in we talked about changing the culture, holding guys accountable and getting a compete factor on a day-in, day-out basis," Francis said. "I think we've certainly taken strides in that direction, we want to continue to make ourselves better in that regard. You look at pieces to your team and what you need and where guys tend to fit when you go into a draft or free agency period. there's a lot of things as a management team that you tend to look at and you do your homework and make a decision and kind of move forward from that."
Francis, 53, is entering his 11th season in management with the Hurricanes and third as GM and executive vice president. He previously worked for the team as director of player development, assistant general manager, associate head coach and director of hockey operations.
"Ron has rebuilt our organization the right way, stocking our team and system with young players who will help this franchise compete for the Stanley Cup year in and year out," Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. said. "I'm thrilled that he will continue to see the job through. The future is very bright for the Hurricanes in Carolina."
The Hurricanes traded captain Eric Staal last season to the New York Rangers on Feb. 28 after parts of 12 seasons in Carolina. Staal, 31, signed with the Minnesota Wild as a free agent on July 1. Francis and Peters have discussed who will replace Staal as captain, but nothing is imminent.
"Bill and I have had some conversations on that," Francis said. "Right now, there's no urgency in our mind to put the 'C' on somebody; when we put the 'C' on somebody we want to make sure it's the right guy. I think we'll start training camp and see how things progress and I think we may even get into the season and start with some assistants and see how things progress at that point."
Video: Ron Francis talks about his contract extension
Francis has had plenty of challenges in his three years as GM of the Hurricanes, but none bigger than making sure everybody is every aspect of the job gets equal attention.
"I think any GM would tell you is managing the expectations," he said. "You're trying to manage the expectations of your fans, your own organization, your owner at times. I think we've done a lot of good things. We're still very young and there's always that risk with young players; how will they respond. Some of our young guys are expected to take another step moving forward and we need them to do that to be successful. There's always that challenge of managing the expectations and making sure that people see things in the right light."
Francis scored 549 goals and had 1,798 points in 23 NHL seasons, 16 of which were spent with the Hurricanes franchise. He's fifth on the League's all-time scoring list behind Wayne Gretzky (2,857), Mark Messier (1,887), Jaromir Jagr (1,868) and Gordie Howe (1,850). His 1,249 assists are second to Gretzky's 1,963, and he's third in games played behind Howe (1,767) and Messier (1,756).
Francis was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
"I try to approach the job from day one the same way," Francis said. "Every day I try to make us better and do the right things for the organization, short and long term. It's nice to have the years and security but it wouldn't have changed my approach to what we were doing one way or another."