The Blue Jackets' head coaching search is heating up.
Last week, GM Jarmo Kekalainen told the media that the team expects to hire its next head coach "sooner rather than later" and told the Torg and Elliott show on QFM 96 that he started interviewing coaches at 10 a.m. Monday, and will continue interviewing candidates throughout the coming days.
General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen joined @TorgandElliott on @Qfm963 bright and early this morning to talk about the #cbj offseason. pic.twitter.com/Lv0FvpGmAd— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) May 15, 2023
The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun posted a story Tuesday shedding some light on who the Blue Jackets have interviewed so far.
As The Athletic’s Blue Jackets beat writer, Aaron Portzline, reported, Columbus hopes to have a new head coach hired very soon, perhaps by the end of the week. Pascal Vincent is an internal candidate who has interviewed, and I’m told the Jackets have also spoken with veteran free agents Peter Laviolette and Mike Babcock. If I had to guess, I think Laviolette is a decent possibility unless the Jackets decide to give Vincent a chance.
Laviolette is 14th all-time in playoff wins and has coached in the NHL since 2002, while Vincent has been with the Blue Jackets organization since 2021 after being at the helm of the AHL's Manitoba Moose for five seasons.
Babcock has been out of the league since the Maple Leafs fired him in 2019, after 17 seasons as an NHL head coach. He won the 2008 Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings and appeared in two other Stanley Cup Finals, in 2009 with Detroit and in 2003 with Anaheim. He's 12th all-time in wins with 700.