A press conference with Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen can be seen in the player above.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Less than 24 hours after the Columbus Blue Jackets finished its 2022-23 season with a loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the franchise decided it will look for a new head coach.
Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen was relieved of his duties Saturday after the team finished the season with the second-lowest point total in the NHL. In addition to Larsen’s departure, goalkeeping coach Manny Legace did not have his contract renewed by the team.
In a press conference, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he informed Larsen of the decision Saturday morning.
Larsen became the eighth head coach in Blue Jackets history in 2021. In 164 games at the helm, the Canadian coach won 62 games and lost 102. He has been with Columbus since 2012 when he served as the head coach of the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate the Springfield Falcons.
“This season has been extremely disappointing and the responsibility for that lies with all of us,” said Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. “These decisions were difficult and not made lightly given our respect for both Brad and Manny as coaches and people. Brad has been part of our organization for more than a decade, and we are extremely thankful for his hard work and many contributions – both on and off the ice – during that time. We wish nothing but the best for Brad and his family in the future.”
Columbus finished the season with 59 points for the second-lowest total in the 2022-23 regular season. It is also the lowest point total in franchise history for an 82-game NHL season.
“We want to get back into the playoffs,” said Kekalainen. “We’ve had enough of being on the outside looking in and watching the playoffs on TV. The reason why we did this reset or whatever you want to call it is to do it the right way to get to the next level. We need to get there soon and we need to improve in all areas to get there.”
The Blue Jackets will now search for its ninth head coach and will be hoping to win the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery. Columbus has the second-best odds to win the No. 1 pick, which experts agree will likely be 17-year-old Canadian phenom Connor Bedard. The draft lottery is scheduled for May 8 at 7 p.m.