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Updates On Blue Jackets Head Coach Vacancy



Updates On Blue Jackets Head Coach Vacancy

The Columbus Blue Jackets are still without a head coach for the 2024-25 NHL season and we now know two individuals who will not be taking on the role. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports that one of the prospective finalists, Todd McLellan, will not become the new head coach due to complications from his former deal with the Los Angeles Kings, which prohibited a multi-year agreement with Columbus. Additionally, Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch reports Jeff Blashill is not under consideration for the role despite his connection to general manager Don Waddell and USA Hockey.

Due to the context of the report from Portzline, it appears the Blue Jackets circled McLellan as their primary candidate considering salary figures were exchanged between both parties. McLellan signed a one-year contract extension with the Kings organization which would have made him the team’s head coach for the 2024-25 campaign and he is still owed that total by Los Angeles. Because his previous contract is still being honored by the Kings organization, the Blue Jackets would have to negotiate with Los Angeles to make McLellan their next head coach.

As Portzline noted in his report, there is always a chance that Columbus circles back around on McLellan and comes to an agreement with the Kings. If they don’t, however; the Blue Jackets head coaching search may be down to Jay Woodcroft and Dean Evason. Much like McLellan, Woodcroft was let go during the season by the Edmonton Oilers, and Evason was let go during the season by the Minnesota Wild.

Neither prospective head coach even comes close to the pedigree of McLellan as he’s collected a career coaching record of 598-412-134 between the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, and Los Angeles Kings. McLellan has coached his team to the playoffs in nine out of his 16 years as head coach and made it as far as the Western Conference Finals during his time in San Jose.

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