4:48 p.m.: It’s a two-year term for Recchi, notes The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline, which means his deal as an assistant will expire after the 2024-25 season – the same as Vincent’s.
2:45 p.m.: The Columbus Blue Jackets have hired Hall-of-Fame forward Mark Recchi as an assistant coach, the team announced Monday. Recchi fills the assistant coaching vacancy created by Pascal Vincent’s promotion to head coach last week in the wake of Mike Babcock’s forced resignation after an NHLPA investigation found he’d breached player privacy.
After retiring as a player in 2011, Recchi spent the next few seasons in advisory and development roles for the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins before earning a promotion to head coach Mike Sullivan’s bench in Pittsburgh immediately after the team’s back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 2016 and 2017. He served as an assistant there for three seasons before joining the New Jersey Devils in a similar capacity in 2020, although he spent just two seasons there and did not return after the 2021-22 campaign. He did not coach anywhere in 2022-23, although he maintains his role as a minority owner of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, which he’s done since 2007.
In Columbus, Recchi’s responsibility will chiefly be managing the team’s forward group and their power play. Therefore, it’s natural to assume this hire will play a significant role in the scoring development of Columbus’ young talent, namely 2023 second-overall pick Adam Fantilli, who projects to make the jump to the NHL in 2023-24 after just one season at the University of Michigan. Kent Johnson and Kirill Marchenko are some other Blue Jackets forwards under the age of 24 expected to log significant time on the team’s power play units this season.
Vincent had a lengthy statement on the addition of Recchi to his staff for his first year as an NHL head coach:
Mark Recchi has been part of the National Hockey League for over three decades and brings an incredible amount of experience to our staff. He is a Hall of Fame player who won three Stanley Cup championships, which combined with his coaching experience, will make him a great resource for our players. We are excited to have him in Columbus. I’m thrilled that we have added a person of [his] talent and insight to our coaching staff. Mark adds a wealth of knowledge as a player and a coach, both in development and as an assistant, to our group that will be instrumental in helping our organization grow on and off the ice. His expertise in the offensive zone and on the power play, specifically, will be a huge benefit for our club.
Over the past three seasons, the Blue Jackets’ power play has sat near the bottom of the league. Their 17.8% conversion rate with the man advantage is tied for 24th in the league over that span with the Arizona Coyotes. If Columbus is to compete in a difficult Eastern Conference and make the significant points gain needed to secure a playoff berth this season, Recchi’s work with the power play (and scoring chance generation in general) will certainly play a large role.