Blue Jackets Split with General Manager

The Columbus Blue Jackets have dismissed general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen after 11 seasons, with John Davidson taking over interim GM duties amidst the team’s struggle for consistent success and playoff appearances, despite possessing top draft picks and prospects.

So, the Columbus Blue Jackets are shaking things up, big time. They’ve said goodbye to their general manager, Jarmo Kekäläinen. Now, it’s John Davidson, the team’s president of hockey operations, stepping into the breach. He, along with the hockey ops team, is on the hunt for a new GM, as Aaron Portzline, a team reporter, tells us.

Kekäläinen? He’s been the backbone for the Blue Jackets for a solid 11 seasons, stepping in after Scott Howson in 2013. Not just anyone, he was the fourth GM in the team’s history. Even more, he was the first to lead them to not just one, but multiple playoff appearances. But, let’s be real, those playoff runs? They didn’t exactly turn into fairy tales. The team’s best shot saw them bowing out in the second round back in 2014.

And lately? Well, things haven’t been looking up. Since 2020, playoffs have been a word not mentioned much around Columbus. Currently, they’re sitting at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division with a not-so-great 16-26-10 record for the season.

Draft picks have been a glimmer of hope, though. Top 10 picks have been kind of their thing, snagging Kent Johnson, David Jiricek, and Adam Fantilli in recent years. Johnson showed promise last season but has hit a bit of a snag this year. Jiricek’s been hopping between leagues, and while he’s shown flashes, he’s not quite there yet. Fantilli, though, he’s been a standout, even amidst the chaos of constantly changing linemates.

Now, rookie head coach Pascal Vincent is in the spotlight. He stepped up after a failed attempt to bring Mike Babcock on board. Babcock’s tenure ended before it even began, thanks to some controversy, leaving Vincent to pick up the pieces.

Kekäläinen’s knack for drafting top talent is undeniable. Names like Denton Mateychuk, Stanislav Svozil, and Gavin Brindley are proof of that. These guys, along with the recent top picks, could very well be the future of the Blue Jackets. But, it’s clear, there’s work to be done if they’re aiming for playoff glory. Under Davidson, or whoever takes the helm next, the team’s got its work cut out. Here’s to hoping they find the magic formula soon.

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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