Just days after naming Brad Larsen their new head coach, the Columbus Blue Jackets are making more off-ice changes in an effort to help the on-ice product.
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced a flurry of front office moves Wednesday, the most noteworthy change being the promotion of Rick Nash from assistant to the general manager to director of player development.
Nash is the Blue Jackets all-time leading scorer, with 547 points between his 2002 debut and his final season with Columbus in 2012. He won't be caught anytime soon; current Blue Jacket Cam Atkinson ranks second all time in points, but at 402, trails Nash by at least two seasons' worth of scoring.
The former captain is advancing in the organization, but he's not the only former Blue Jacket moving into a development role. Mark Letestu and Derek Dorsett also rejoined the organization this week, joining another former Jacket - Jared Boll - in a developmental role with the club.
Brad Thiessen, who played last season with the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL, announced his retirement and will replace the departing Jim Corsi as the goaltending development coach.
"In Rick, Derek, Mark, and Brad, we have four former players with a combined 34 years of experience in the NHL and 17 in the AHL," said Kekalainen. "They will be able to share a wealth of knowledge and experience with prospects throughout our organization."
"They are also passionate about the Blue Jackets, our city, and what we are building here."
Dorsett and Letestu bring different sets of skills to the developmental team, a benefit that the Blue Jackets hope will pay off in both the near and long term future.
Other changes announced by the franchise this week included the retirement of Nelson Ayotte, who had served as director of high performance the past four seasons, and the addition of Josef Boumedienne as director of pro scouting. Boumedienne was previously the European scouting director.