Blue Jackets name Brad Larsen as their first head coach after Torts


The Blue Jackets called it a “comprehensive” search for their first head coach after parting ways with John Tortorella, but they didn’t end up looking that far. Ultimately, they were promoted from within, as the Blue Jackets named longtime assistant Brad Larsen. as their new head coach.

“We went through an exhaustive process where we took a very close look at a number of outstanding candidates to be the next coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the one person we kept coming back to was Brad Larsen,” said the General manager. Jarmo Kekalainen mentionned. “Brad was one of the best young coaches in the American Hockey League when he joined our club as an assistant coach and over the past seven years he has earned the respect of our players, about our staff and our organization through his work ethic, his hockey sense and the way he treats people and we couldn’t be happier to present him as our next head coach.

John Davidson, manager of the recently relocated Blue Jackets, added that Larsen “shares our values ​​and our vision.”

Blue Jackets promote Brad Larsen as head coach after search

Larsen, 43, should definitely know the Blue Jackets’ organization.

Larsen has acquired some experience at the AHL level with the Springfield Falcons, the subsidiary of the Blue Jackets. As an assistant, he spent a year under Todd Richards, then six seasons with John Tortorella.

It will then be interesting to see if that means smaller changes to the way Columbus plays, or if Larsen has larger structural changes in mind nonetheless.

After reviewing his irregular career in the NHL, it seems reasonable to assume that Larsen will be able to identify with the “companion” players. He was drafted twice (53rd overall by the Senators in 1995; 87th by the Avalanche in 1997). From there, he rebounded between the AHL and NHL levels for the Avalanche and then the Atlanta Thrashers.

According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, the Blue Jackets conducted two interviews with at least three head coach candidates: Larsen, Gerard Gallant and Rick Tocchet. Portzline reports that other people could have been interviewed as well, but could not confirm the names. Learn more about the Blue Jackets process here (under required).

Will the Blue Jackets be happy to have been promoted from within by appointing Larsen as their new head coach? Could he get along better with the players, then Columbus ideally stops losing key stars, possibly continuing with Seth jones? Would a bigger name like Gallant have made a bigger statement about this franchise’s ambitions?

We will find out. The Blue Jackets have been fairly proactive with this process, however; they’ve now comfortably settled their head coaching situation ahead of the 2021 NHL Draft weekend. Maybe Larsen can comment on Seth Jones’ possible trade returns?

James o’brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.


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