Florida Panthers To Hire Blue Jackets Associate General Manager Bill Zito As General Manager

By Colin Hass-Hill on September 1, 2020 at 8:36 pm

For years, Columbus Blue Jackets associate general manager Bill Zito has been rumored as a candidate for a promotion elsewhere.

In 2017, he interviewed and was a finalist for the Buffalo Sabres' general manager opening, and the next year he interviewed with the Minnesota Wild for a spot atop their front office. Last offseason, he had an interview for the Seattle Kraken's general manager vacancy.

Yet after each passing summer, he remained in Columbus as Jarmo Kekalainen's right-hand man.

This week, Zito finally will get the long-awaited opportunity to run a team. The Florida Panthers plan to him as their general manager to replace Dale Tallon, TSN's Frank Seravalli reported on Tuesday evening. Seravalli said Florida will officially announce the move on Wednesday.

In Florida, he'll be reunited with former Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky who signed with them as an unrestricted free agent last year.

Zito has been in the Blue Jackets' organization since 2013 when they hired the at-the-time player agent as their assistant general manager. He remained in the front office for seven years, helping Kekalainen build a team that has reached the playoffs to end four seasons in a row.

In 2018, he was promoted from assistant general manager to associate general manager. Along the way, he was also the general manager of the 2018 United States National Team.

The Pittsburgh native and Yale (bachelor's degree) and Wisconsin (law school) graduate once represented the likes of Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask and Kimmo Timonen before Columbus brought him aboard. Now, seven years after leaving player representation, Zito has taken a general manager job with the Panthers.

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