An offseason that could be full of change has taken the first step already.
Goaltending coach Ian Clark will reportedly leave the team after his contract expires in June. The report comes courtesy of Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.
13. After seven years of working with Sergei Bobrovsky, helping turn a raw talent into one of the best in the NHL, Ian Clark will leave the Columbus Blue Jackets when his contract expires at the end of June. “This is not a negative story,” he said this week. “I’m ready to move on, take on some new challenges. It’s time. Sometimes change is good.”
In the meantime, he will help the organization put together its scouting list for the draft. “There is going to be evolution. There are so many aspects to such a unique position. Sooner or later, teams will have a director of player personnel and a director of goaltending. They are kind of doing it now, but will make it more formal.” Washington did something similar last summer with longtime goalie guru Mitch Korn, and Clark has spoken to him about that.
14. Clark said he was proud of what Bobrovsky accomplished. He would not discuss the conversation where he told the 2013 and 2017 Vezina winner he wasn’t coming back. “That’s private,” he said. “But he will always be able to lean on me. This is just the next chapter.”
Asked about the playoff defeat to Washington, Clark replied, “Everyone has to step forward, including Bob. I expect nothing other than he will continue to climb. He wants to do it. He’s such a competitor. When things aren’t good around him, he tries to do too much, with good intent. He wants to anchor the team, but will work to become more more compact, calmer and trusting of what is going around him. There is no doubt he will still be one of the best.”
On backup Joonas Korpisalo: “He had some really important wins for us, and some really erratic games. He will continue to grow. His raw talent is really high.” Clark added that the Blue Jackets have some prospects to watch, including a couple of Latvians and a Russian. (Columbus doesn’t scrimp on its scouting budget.) “It’s a journey. But all these guys have high ability.”
Clark has been with the Blue Jackets for a long time and gets a lot of credit for morphing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky into the player he is today. Looking at the pipeline itself, Clark leaves the team in good hands especially when considering where it was before he arrived.
It also appears that he will stay on board with the team helping them put together their scouting list for the 2018 NHL Draft meaning that he will have one last opportunity to make a mark on the position for the team.