New Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen is adding to his staff. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Blue Jackets are set to hire Manitoba Moose head coach Pascal Vincent as an assistant to Larsen. Vincent had previously left Paul Maurice’s Winnipeg Jets staff in favor of being the head coach for their AHL affiliate, but seemingly is back to being open to an NHL assistant role. Vincent has spent the past decade with the Jets organization and the previous dozen years as a head coach and GM in the QMJHL. With an impressive resume, Vincent may see this Columbus opportunity as a way to get his name out there beyond the confines of Winnipeg in hopes of attracting NHL head coach attention of his own down the road. Vincent will re-unite with Jack Roslovic in Columbus; he previously coached him as a prospect with the Moose but he has now become the No. 1 center for the Blue Jackets. That relationship should be mutually beneficial for the pair.
- The big coaching news of the day was of course the hiring of Dave Hakstol as the first head coach of the expansion Seattle Kraken. And while Hakstol’s role will be in the locker room and not the front office, GM Ron Francis will certainly take his opinions into consideration. After all, it was the Florida Panthers, the former team of Vegas’ inaugural head coach, Gerard Gallant, that were swindled the worst by the Golden Knights in the last Expansion Draft. Florida traded Reilly Smith and a fourth-round pick so that Vegas would select Jonathan Marchessault over the likes of Alexander Petrovic and Mark Pysyk. While no teams should be fooled so badly this time around, Hakstol’s knowledge of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadephia Flyers – not to mention the numerous University of North Dakota alumni around the league – could come into play. The Flyers in particular are expected to have many well-known names exposed in the draft, some of whom played their best seasons under Hakstol, and the coach may know exactly how to target the team.
- The Maple Leafs now have a vacancy on their coaching staff in the wake of Hakstol’s departure, but the club’s fans think they have already figured it out. Yahoo’s Thomas Williams writes that there has already been an outpouring of support for veteran coach Bruce Boudreau to be hired as the team’s newest assistant. The Toronto native and former Maple Leafs player spoke out this off-season as a free agent that he would like to coach his hometown team and fans seem to agree with the match. Boudreau has had a long and successful coaching career and some feel that head coach Sheldon Keefe could use the veteran support on the bench. With that said, Boudreau has never served as an assistant in the NHL and interviewed for the Buffalo Sabres’ head coach vacancy late last month. Despite any personal feelings and fan support, Boudreau will take the top job for the struggling Sabres over a No. 2 role for Toronto.
- Of course, Boudreau is not the only candidate for the Sabres’ job, as Rick Tocchet is also among the names who interviewed for the position. Tocchet interviewed multiple times with the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, and Seattle Kraken, only to lose out on all three jobs. He has reportedly only interviewed once with Buffalo, who may not have been his top choice at first, but they are the only landing spot left, as the other remaining NHL head coach position is the post he vacated with the Arizona Coyotes. Tocchet is clearly a well-regarded and sought-after coach, so now that they are his last hope at a top job this season, perhaps the Sabres and Tocchet will get serious about a potential match.