Waddell is currently the Hurricanes' GM, president, and alternate governor. His contract with Carolina expired June 30, technically making him a free agent, but Waddell said in May he'd be back with the Hurricanes next season as he and owner Tom Dundon work toward a mutual agreement on a new deal.
"Even if he had a contract I would let him interview," Dundon said. "It's not going to stop somebody from doing whatever's best for them. If they're going to pay somebody more money, I'm not going to stop them. I told him he's got to do what's best for him."
Last season marked Waddell's first season as Hurricanes GM, but he ran the business side of the organization for the previous five years. The 60-year-old also has career experience as a scout with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and as GM with the Atlanta Thrashers from 1998-2010.
Even though he's not under contract, Waddell has maintained his standard managerial duties through the offseason, matching the Sebastian Aho offer sheet and signing a handful of other contracts.
"Tom doesn't believe in a lot of contracts," Waddell said. "Tom's told me I have a job for life. But he's also encouraged me to explore other opportunities to see what the market will pay. We started something here, I love it here, but when the job opened up and Tom said you should explore it, that's what I'm doing."
Waddell's first year at the helm in Carolina was an enormous success, as the club snapped a 10-year playoff drought and advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference Final - a big factor in him ultimately being named a finalist for General Manager of the Year.
Coincidentally, one of Waddell's biggest moves last season came at the expense of the Wild, who shipped a misused Nino Niederreiter to the Hurricanes in exchange for Victor Rask. Niederreiter hit his stride in Raleigh, bagging 30 points in 36 games, while Rask mustered a measly three points in 23 contests with Minnesota.
The Wild have also interviewed Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin, and have reportedly reached out to a number of other candidates in their search for a new leader, including Tom Fitzgerald, Chris Drury, Mark Hunter, Bill Zito, Basil McRae, Mike Futa and Sean Burke, according to Russo.
Minnesota fired former GM Paul Fenton last week after one season in charge.