The Blue Jackets are going to see a handful of players (and potentially, a president of hockey operations) change addresses this offseason. One constant, it appears for now, will be the coaching staff. John Tortorella enters his fifth season as head coach in Columbus, while Brad Larsen will serve his sixth season on the Blue Jackets' coaching staff in 2019-20.
And then there's Brad Shaw, who came over from the St. Louis Blues four seasons ago, has seen his stock rise dramatically since. It's believed he interviewed for the Ottawa Senators head coaching job that eventually went to Guy Boucher (who was fired a month ago), and in 2006, he served as interim head coach of the New York Islanders when Steve Stirling was fired. Kudos if you've ever heard of Steve Stirling.
Now, Shaw's name is gaining more league-wide attention. He's been linked to the Senators' coaching job this around – but according to TSN's Bob McKenzie, it sounds like the Senators have their final list and will proceed without Shaw in the mix.
OTT has asked for (and received) permission from DAL to interview Stars assistant coach Rick Bowness. Bowness will be the sixth candidate interviewed by Ottawa. Others include Marc Crawford, Troy Mann, Jacques Martin, D.J. Smith and Nate Leaman.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 12, 2019
Shaw is not without support in the Ottawa market, where he also played junior hockey with the 67s. Longtime Senators reporter and hockey columnist Bruce Garrioch has written in support of a Shaw candidacy, as recently as April 29.
“Yeah, I have an interest in being a head coach. Sure,” Shaw said Monday at Nationwide Arena, while also stressing such thoughts are secondary to his focus on these playoffs. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been one, and I think that plays against me in certain respects maybe, but yeah, sure, I’d love to do it.”
Shaw spent 10 years as an assistant with the St. Louis Blues, where he worked under John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen. He earned high marks for his work with a young defense, especially Alex Pietrangelo. Now, he's known for helping to grow one of the NHL's best blue lines led by Zach Werenski and Seth Jones – who have become a dynamic top pairing under Shaw's watch.
While Shaw may not be a finalist for a head coaching job right now, it shouldn't be too long before he's again in serious consideration. In the meantime, it's the Blue Jackets who benefit from having one of the NHL's top assistant coaches back for another season – and helping to mold their young defense.