Home > Eastern Conference, Southeast Division > The Man Behind the Deals: Rick Dudley

The Man Behind the Deals: Rick Dudley

A year ago, Rick Dudley was hired on as Assistant General Manager under Don Waddell, leaving the Chicago Blackhawks that he helped mold.  There was much rejoicing in Blueland, because there was a sneaking suspicion that Dudley was being groomed for GM, and with his successes in previous stops he promised good things to come.

Waddell was promoted to Vice President of the Thrashers in April after the end of the season.  It was a brief time of turmoil for the Thrashers due to the firing of their coaching staff and the promotion to GM of Dudley.  Promptly, though, Dudley put his stamp on the organization, by promising to actively improve the team through trades and free agency while finding support for our young players.

It’s something that Dudley understands well.

He’s been the general manager or assistant general manager of several youthful clubs, including the eventual 2004 Cup champion Lightning.  He left before the championship season to help build another club, the Florida Panthers.  Before these two teams, he also was briefly the GM of the Ottawa Senators.  He also coached the Buffalo Sabres from 1989 to 1992.  His tenure in the IHL and AHL, both before and after the Buffalo job, made him in tune to the particular needs of young players.  This grooming youth talent was well served in Chicago, where he and current Florida GM Dale Tallon built a future contender out of youthful zeal and veteran grizzle.

Working in Chicago also gave Dudley a strong and friendly relationship with their new GM, Stan Bowman.  He and Bowman had been working on a deal between the Hawks and Thrashers for quite some time.  Said Dudley regarding the dealings:

“Stan and I talked more than we did when we worked together…. I think it’s easy for Stan and I to talk. We spent years together. It was like two guys who work together talk together and, yeah, I did understand. He understands our assets. Stan has a pretty good grasp. He drove a hard bargain.”

A hard bargain that quickly improved a growing franchise.  If Dudley has a “been there, done that” attitude about it, well – it’s because it’s true.

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