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Ron Francis out as GM of the Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have made an aggressive move by removing Ron Francis as the team's general manager, despite being in the middle of the playoff hunt.

In the thick of the playoff race, the Carolina Hurricanes have removed general manager Ron Francis from his post.

Francis, according to The News & Observer, will become the team’s president of hockey operations.

The Hurricanes were four points adrift of the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference as of Wednesday.

“Since I took control of the team, I’ve had a good chance to be around and assess the operations,” Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said in a release on Wednesday. “There are a lot of good people working in the organization, but I feel that a change in direction is needed when it comes to hockey personnel decisions.

“Ron is a smart and talented hockey man. I am glad that he will continue to be a part of the team, serving in this new role.”

The Hurricanes said whatever new GM they hire will report directly to Dundon, bypassing the team’s new president of hockey ops -- Francis.

Francis, 55, was handed the role as GM, replacing Jim Rutherford. Rutherford has gone on to win back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

France played 1,731 NHL games over his 25-year career, including 1,186 games with the Hartford Whalers/Hurricanes organization.

It’s been an up and down season for the Hurricanes, but they’re still in the running for a playoff berth. The Hurricanes own the distinction of having the longest playoff drought among the 31 NHL teams. Carolina hasn’t played a playoff game since 2009.

Francis’ trade history is, well, very light.

Francis went out and signed former Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling in the offseason, giving him a four-year deal worth north of $16 million. It was a risky move at the time, given the question marks surrounding Darling’s ability to take on the role of a starting goalie.

And it hasn’t worked out.

Darling owns the worst save percentage in the NHL among starters with a .889.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck