Coaching Profiles: Could Blue Jackets Turn To A Familiar Face In Pascal Vincent For Head Coaching Vacancy?

By Will Chase on April 28, 2023 at 1:45 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen talks with his team during a time out in the third period against the St. Louis Blues at Nationwide Arena.
Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue to navigate through the potential list of head coaching candidates for the Columbus Blue Jackets, we take a look at a familiar face.

Pascal Vincent has served as the Blue Jackets' associate coach on former head coach Brad Larsen's staff since the 2021-22 season.

Vincent initially interviewed for the head coach role in the summer of 2021 before Columbus went forward with Larsen and Vincent decided to join the staff.

Now, two years later, the head coach role is open once again and Vincent could be a candidate this time around. Courtesy of Aaron Portzline in The Athletic on Sunday, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is certainly keeping the possibility in play.

It comes down to what kind of coach you are that determines if the look is fresh, not just if you have a familiar face. There’s only one guy holding the whistles. That’s the head coach. So I’m not dismissive of Pascal Vincent having a whole new voice because of how he would run things.

The Vincent File

  • Born: September 22, 1971, Laval, Quebec, Canada
  • Currently: Associate Coach, Columbus Blue Jackets
  • 2011 to 2016: Assistant Head Coach of the Winnipeg Jets
  • 2016 to 2021: Compiled 155-139-31 record as the head coach of the Manitoba Moose (Jets), 2017-18 Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award winner as the AHL's Coach of the Year after guiding the club to a 42-26-8 record with 92 points

Would they? Should they?

After already going with an internal hire last time around, from the veteran coach in John Tortorella to long time assistant, and a first-time head coach in Larsen, the idea of yet another internal hire without previous NHL head coaching experience might sound the alarm bells for the Blue Jackets fan base.

The optics might not seem right at this point in time to do such a similar hire just two years later.

But let's look at the candidate in Vincent, and paint the picture of why he could be a serious contender for the role.

Vincent has acted as head coach for the Blue Jackets in the past, including last season when Larsen was unavailable due to being placed in COVID protocol for three games.

Vincent also served as head coach on Mar. 19 in the 7-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights and in the Mar. 21, 7-6 overtime win over the Washington Capitals—Vincent's first win as a coach—as Larsen was away due to a death in the family.

Under Vincent was the implementation of Patrik Laine at the center position, in which the natural winger registered four assists in those two games before a season-ending injury. Laine has expressed interest in continuing to play center on a regular basis moving forward.

Pascal Vincent,
Pascal Vincent,

While it seems like a veteran NHL head coach might be the way the Blue Jackets lean with their current situation, would they instead opt for an internal hire that might already have the best beat on the roster as currently situated?

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