Waddell Brings Credibility, A Winning Pedigree, And A Personable Connection To Blue Jackets Fan Base

By Will Chase on June 5, 2024 at 10:15 am
Majority Owner / Governor John P. McConnell, President / Alternate Governor Mike Priest, President, Hockey Operations / General Manager / Alternate Governor Don Waddell, Senior Advisor / Alternate Governor John Davidson

We're officially one week into the Don Waddell era.

In the days since Waddell's introductory press conference as the Columbus Blue Jackets president and general manager, Waddell has been on the media tour to talk about the new gig and shed insight into the philosophies of which he operates.

While there's a lot to play out and see what plans are put into action, you get the sense of how calculated Waddell is. 

With his words and, of course, his experience as a president and general manager across the NHL.

"I've had the privilege of knowing Don Waddell for many, many years," John Davidson said during last week's press conference introducing Waddell as president and general manager. "And there is no one I have greater respect or affection for in this business.

"Don understands how to connect people. And values the bond between a team and its fans."

For those who might not be familiar with Waddell before the Blue Jackets portion of his career, and though it's early, he does bring a personable nature by which he communicates.

Specifically, in his interview with Blue Jackets radio broadcaster Bob McElligott, and sharing his thoughts on the team and its personnel.

"I have lots of thoughts," Waddell said. "Probably not willing to share any yet because I don't want to poison anybody else's mind. I want to hear fresh what people think. I don't want people to think what I think unless that's what they think.

"If they know my opinion ahead of time, chances are they may want to jump on how I'm thinking. I want honesty. And your opinion might be completely opposite of mine. I might be completely wrong. You might be completely right.

"I want your opinion. I don't want fence sitters. I hate fence sitters because I've worked with a lot of people that are fence-sitters. I want to know what your thoughts are on player X, Y, and Z."

While the moves in the offseason and the direct results on the ice will do the real talking for the Blue Jackets, it is important to hear the thoughts of a new person in charge and begin to understand what change can feel and look like.

Especially coming off four straight losing seasons, no playoffs since 2019-20, and a public relations nightmare right before training camp with the Mike Babcock fiasco.

Waddell brings credibility, a fresh start, and a new perspective, as we've learned so far through his interviews. And of course, the results from his Carolina Hurricanes days speak for themselves.

One thing to look forward to this offseason is how Waddell handles the restricted free agents on his plate.

Yegor Chinakhov, Kirill Marchenko, Alex Nylander, Cole Sillinger, Alexandre Texier, Kent Johnson, Tyler Angle, Marcus Bjork, Jake Christiansen, Jet Greaves, and Jake Bean — whom Waddell traded to Columbus in 2021 — are all up for deals.

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