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NHL Rumours: Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach Search

NHL Rumours

It’s time for another round of NHL rumours. We started the free agency period over a week ago, but we’ve got plenty of things to talk about. It’s not just players that are being speculated on at this point. One team needs to fill a head coaching vacancy and that club is the Columbus Blue Jackets. This edition deals with who is in and who is out as a possible candidate.

All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach Search Update

Rumour: Aaron Portzline of The Athletic offered an update on the candidate list for the vacant head coaching post.

Analysis: We thought that new General Manager Don Waddell had hired a new head coach, but there’s still some chatter. Todd McLellan is still very much on the candidate list along with Dean Evason and Jay Woodcroft. All three are veteran bench bosses that have experience leading an NHL roster.

Some may complain that the same old faces are getting recycled into another head coaching post. However, experience is still a highly-valued commodity in the league. Waddell is taking his time and doing it right by being slow and deliberate during this coaching search.

It’s a tall order for this franchise to work its way up the standings in the Metropolitan Division. However, there are talented young players like Adam Fantilli, Kent Johnson and others that can help this team can back to the post-season for the first time since 2020.

Not on the List

Portzline added that one name not on the list is Joel Quenneville. The former Stanley Cup winning coach is eligible to be hired after his suspension from the Kyle Beach fallout was lifted on July 1. Quenneville had won Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks and had stints with the St. Louis Blues and Florida Panthers. However, there would understandably be some backlash if the Blue Jackets pull the trigger on hiring the former bench boss.

Columbus already had one controversial hire last year when former GM Jarmo Kekalainen hired Mike Babcock. However, that hire did not last long due to claims that he violated players’ privacy when he asked to see photos on their cellphones. Quenneville has great coaching credentials, but Waddell and the organization probably want to avoid another hiring that could cause some headaches.

What’s Next for the Jackets

The Jackets have work to do and it won’t be an easy task to turn the ship around. However, Waddell has plenty of experience in being in NHL GM. One could feel that Pascal Vincent was hard done by only getting one year behind the bench. He was thrust into a bad situation in having to try and take over after Babcock left the organization.

However, one also can’t blame Waddell for wanting his own person to be the head coach. This rebuild might take a few seasons to bear some fruit, so Waddell needs to hire the right person for the job. Even it takes longer than what some people want.

Main photo by: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports


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