It's only been 24 hours since Don Waddell stepped down as the general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, and it looks like the 65-year-old already has his next opportunity lined up. Waddell is set to become the next GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets — at least according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.

“Nothing is finalized yet but hearing that Don Waddell is the Blue Jackets' choice to take over the top hockey ops job in Columbus,” reported the hockey insider on Saturday. “If things proceed smoothly, should see an announcement over the coming week.”

Waddell spent nearly a decade in the Hurricanes organization, joining in July of 2014 and overseeing team business operations before the general manager title was added a couple of years later.

“This morning, I spoke with [general manager] Tom [Fitzgerald] and informed him that I have come to the decision that now is the time for me to move to the next chapter of my career,” Waddell explained in the official release on Friday.

“I have loved my experiences in the Triangle over the past 10 years, and together with a strong team, on and off the ice, we have accomplished many great victories. I am grateful for the support I have received from so many loyal Caniacs. This organization is in strong, capable hands and well-positioned for the future.”

The longtime executive has a Stanley Cup under his belt, winning as an assistant GM with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98. He wasn't able to get the Hurricanes over the hump to a championship appearance though, and he'll now look to do so with a much worse Columbus team.

Don Waddell has his work cut out for him with Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Waddell was one of the architects of a consistently competitive Hurricanes roster, and he led the team to two Eastern Conference Final appearances throughout his tenure. But the Canes were swept both times, once in 2019 by the Boston Bruins and again by the Florida Panthers last season.

The question of whether or not this team can eventually get over the hump and win a Stanley Cup for the first time since 2006 is not an answer Waddell will be around for.

Instead, he'll join a Blue Jackets team that is fresh off another absolutely miserable season. Johnny Gaudreau struggled mightily for the second straight year, Patrik Laine was plagued by injuries and eventually placed in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, and Zach Werenski again had difficulties remaining healthy.

After an offseason where the Jackets added Damon Severson and Ivan Provorov and drafted Adam Fantilli — with the hopes of improving on 2022-23 — the club instead finished dead last in the Metropolitan Division with a ghastly 27-43-12 record.

That is the team that Waddell will inherit after Jarmo Kekalainen was let go as Columbus' GM last season. He certainly has his work cut out for him, and if and once the rumor is confirmed, it'll be intriguing to see what moves he makes to try to get this team back to relevance in 2025.

The first step will be the 2024 NHL Draft at the end of June; the Jackets will select No. 4 overall after selecting Fantilli with the No. 3 pick in 2023.