Somewhat unexpectedly, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced Brad Larsen as their eighth head coach in franchise history Thursday afternoon. The move comes after announcing that they wouldn’t be renewing John Tortorella’s contract. Larsen’s signed a three-year deal as Columbus’ bench boss.
OFFICIAL: The #CBJ name Brad Larsen the eighth head coach in franchise history.
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) June 10, 2021
Columbus Blue Jackets Name Brad Larsen Head Coach
Despite a wealth of free-agent coaches available, Columbus has opted to keep their solutions internal. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen is evidently trying to reignite the passion and play found in Columbus prior to this year’s catastrophic season. Larsen was a part of all of that, as he’s been an assistant in Columbus for seven seasons.
While never really jumping off the page as a player, Larsen’s career highlights include a 15-point season with Atlanta in 2005-06. He was also a small part of Colorado’s 2001 championship team, playing in nine regular-season tilts that year.
Larsen moved quickly into coaching after retiring after the 2009-10 season. He was immediately brought into the Columbus organization in 2010-11, serving as an assistant coach for their AHL affiliate in Springfield. He was promoted to head coach of Springfield after just two seasons. The same amount of time later, he found himself coaching in the NHL with Columbus for the 2014-15 season.
What This Means for the Future
Columbus faces a daunting task to return to competitiveness in the coming seasons. They’re hoping youth like prospect Yegor Chinakov can help induce some spark into the lineup. However, Larsen will very likely have to navigate next season without defenceman Seth Jones. The disgruntled d-man has informed Columbus that he won’t be re-signing and will likely be dealt at or before the draft.
Kekalainen will try and invigorate a roster for Larsen to deal with. If Columbus can return to a more hardnosed and motivating style of play under Larsen, the move could pay off well.
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