Carolina Hurricanes: Samuelsson in as Checkers coach

The Carolina Hurricanes are bringing in a familiar face to coach the Charlotte Checkers. Familiar for long time NHL fans that is.

The Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL hockey franchise is the closeby Charlotte Checkers these days. For a Charlotte guy like me it means that the players who play well in the farm system are likely to be the guys who will eventually show up in Raleigh.

That means that a coaching change for the Checkers becomes important to the Hurricanes. The Checkers do have a new coach in the form of former Pittsburgh Penguin defenseman Ulf Samuelsson. Samuelsson takes the job after a long history of knowing Hurricanes executive and former player Ron Francis.

Francis and Samuelsson were even once on this franchise’s roster together back when the team was known as the Hartford Whalers. The two even made the move to Pittsburgh together where they joined forces with Mario Lemieux and the still active Jaromir Jagr. Samuelsson also spent some years winning cups in Detroit with the Red Wings.

Samuelsson spent his post career in New York with the Rangers as an assistant. This of course means that Samuelsson would have spent some small amount of time with Eric Staal. Samuelsson was not brought in just because he knows a lot of people. He is also a tough as nails competitor who looks to instill that feeling in other players.

What happens in minor league hockey other than trying to instill those ideas? Samuelsson will also give an easy sounding board for Francis on the development of certain players. The two are likely to have an easier relationship than someone completely new.

The Hurricanes have a busy off season ahead, but at least they can mark this particular item off the list of things to do. Now the team has to get better at the NHL level including whether or not they will make a push to bring Staal back.