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The Columbus Blue Jackets are on the hunt for a new head coach, and the decision could come sooner rather than later. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen has expressed his desire to have a new coach before he heads to the IIHF World Championships in Europe on May 21. While Kekalainen acknowledges the importance of making the right decision over a quick one, the Blue Jackets are actively considering their options for the vacant coaching position.


After a disappointing season where they only won 25 out of 82 matches, ranking 8th in the Eastern Conference and finishing 31st in the league, the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking for a fresh start with a new head coach. The decision of who will lead the team behind the bench is crucial, as it will set the tone for the future and shape the organization’s direction. Whether they choose an internal candidate, a rookie head coach, or an experienced veteran, the Blue Jackets aim for a turnaround that will propel them back into playoff contention and give their top players, like Johnny Gaudreau, a chance to succeed.


One question surrounding the Blue Jackets’ coaching search is whether the organization will pay top dollar for an established coach. NHL coaching salaries have significantly increased in recent years, and experienced coaches often command salaries upwards of $3 million per season. Kekalainen has expressed the team’s willingness to pay for the right coach, but it remains to be seen how much they are willing to invest.

The team’s upcoming draft position also adds a layer of importance to their coaching decision. With the opportunity to select third overall, the Blue Jackets can secure a potential franchise player who could significantly impact the team’s future success. If the organization is determined to compete quickly and maximize its chances of winning, hiring an experienced coach who can guide the team to success may be prioritized.

Potential Candidates

Pascal Vincent


Pascal Vincent is a potential candidate for the head coaching position with the Blue Jackets. He currently serves as the associate coach for Columbus. Vincent has an impressive coaching resume and extensive experience at the junior level as an assistant and head coach in the NHL and AHL. Vincent brings a proven track record. His achievements include playoff appearances, multiple rounds won, and two conference finals appearances.

After spending five seasons as the head coach of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, Vincent became a Blue Jackets coaching staff member in 2021. Before that, he had a five-year tenure as an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Jets, resulting in 10 consecutive seasons working within the Winnipeg organization.

Additionally, Vincent has extensive head coaching (and general managing) experience in the QMJHL, spending nine seasons with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and three more seasons with Montreal Juniors., consistently achieving a record over .500. His teams made the playoffs every year, winning at least one round in eight seasons and reaching the conference finals twice.

The success demonstrates Vincent’s ability to develop players and guide a team to postseason success. Vincent could turn the team around as a head coach and gain the confidence of Ohio fans and bettors. Bettors can also avail of sportsbooks promo codes in Ohio to get a discount and bet on their favorite team.

Promoted from runner-up for the head coaching role when Brad Larsen was hired, Vincent has already impressed the organization. His strong work ethic and coaching acumen make him a compelling candidate to take over the reins of the Blue Jackets. However, given the team’s desire for change, they may look outside the organization for a fresh perspective.

Spencer Carbery


While Carbery may be relatively unknown to casual fans, he is well-respected within NHL circles. At 41 years old, Carbery is considered young by coaching standards and is eager to take on a head coaching role at the NHL level.

Carbery’s coaching journey began as an assistant coach, eventually leading him to become the head coach of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. Carbery guided the team to the finals and conference finals in his five seasons with the Stingrays, earning him the ECHL Coach of the Year award in 2013-14. His ability to lead a team to success in the minor leagues demonstrates his potential to make a positive impact at the NHL level.

Carbery’s fresh perspective and energy could be what the Blue Jackets need to spark a turnaround. His emphasis on player development and attention to detail could help elevate the team’s performance and instill a winning culture.

Gerard Gallant


Gerard Gallant has not yet been interviewed for the head coaching position. Still, his potential appointment could signal that the Blue Jackets organization wants to compete in the standings next season.

Gallant has previous coaching experience with the Blue Jackets, serving as an assistant coach and later as the head coach during the 2003-04 season. He was fired in 2006-07 when the team hired Ken Hitchcock. Gallant has since succeeded in the NHL, winning the Jack Adams Award in the 2017-18 season.

If chosen, Gallant’s hiring would signal the team’s intent to compete immediately and give their top players a chance to win. His experience and track record of success make him an attractive candidate for the Blue Jackets. However, the logistics of obtaining permission from the Rangers and negotiating his contract could pose challenges.


The Columbus Blue Jackets’ search for a new head coach is critical for the organization. Intending to turn their fortunes around, the team is considering internal candidates, rookie head coaches, and experienced veterans. The decision will shape the team’s future and its ability to compete. With a high draft pick and a commitment to paying top dollar for the right coach, the Blue Jackets have an opportunity to rebuild and develop a winning team. The fans eagerly await the announcement, hoping for a fresh start and a return to success. The next head coach will play a vital role in the team’s journey back to contention.