Feb 13, 2013, 2:08 AM EDT
Former St. Louis Blues assistant general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is reportedly the leading candidate to become the next GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
According to multiple sources of The Hockey News, Kekalainen will likely be introduced as the club’s new GM at Wednesday’s press conference, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET.
Furthering this speculation are reports that Jokerit — the Finnish league club currently employing Kekalainen as GM — will also hold a press conference on Wednesday, presumably to announce Kekalainen’s departure.
On Tuesday evening, the Blue Jackets fired Scott Howson after he spent five-plus years as the team’s general manager.
While hardly a household name, Kekalainen is held in high regard within NHL circles. He spent three years in the league as a player, splitting time between Boston and Ottawa.
He returned to Ottawa in the late 90s, serving as the club’s player personnel director until 2002. During his tenure, the Sens had a solid draft record and selected a number of key figures, including Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat, Jason Spezza, Antoine Vermette, Anton Volchenkov and Ray Emery.
After Ottawa, Kekalainen moved to the Blues organization, where he worked as the Director of Amateur Scouting and served as assistant to GM Larry Pleau.
His draft record with St. Louis was equally impressive to his work in Ottawa — during Kekalainen’s tenure, the Blues drafted the likes of David Backes, Erik Johnson, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund and Alex Pietrangelo.
It was also in St. Louis where Kekalainen worked with Columbus’ current President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson.
It should be noted that Kekalainen left the Blues organization around the same time Doug Armstrong was chosen as Pleau’s successor as GM, opting to return to his native Finland to take the GM job at Jokerit.
According to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, Kekalainen’s in year three of a five-year pact with Jokerit, but is believed to have an NHL “out” clause.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie notes that Kekalainen would be the NHL’s first European general manager.
Oct 31, 2014, 10:35 PM EDT
This one got a little testy.
Oct 31, 2014, 10:03 PM EDT
No penalty on the play, for those wondering. Appeared clean all the way.
Oct 31, 2014, 9:34 PM EDT
Oct 31, 2014, 9:06 PM EDT
Folks continue to rally around Mr. Hockey.
Oct 31, 2014, 8:44 PM EDT
What is going on with the defending champs?
Oct 31, 2014, 8:13 PM EDT
He’s on the left in that photo. Doing what his old man used to do.
Oct 31, 2014, 7:36 PM EDT
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Oct 31, 2014, 7:04 PM EDT
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Oct 31, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT
The hit occurred seconds before Vancouver scored.
Oct 31, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT
Hasn’t played since Oct. 8.
Oct 31, 2014, 5:36 PM EDT
Could play Saturday against Washington.
Oct 31, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
At the same time, Claude Julien admits the B’s “are still trying to find that confidence level that comes with winning on a regular basis.”
Oct 31, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT
All the latest from the blue paint.
Oct 31, 2014, 3:10 PM EDT
“I just haven’t come to that decision yet.”
Oct 31, 2014, 3:06 PM EDT
When Philly takes on the Panthers in Florida.
Oct 31, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT
Veteran forward is hurt again.
Oct 31, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT
On a professional tryout contract.
Oct 31, 2014, 1:57 PM EDT
Former 13th overall pick doesn’t want to comment on trade rumors.
Oct 31, 2014, 1:48 PM EDT
Club is dealing with a team-wide bacterial infection.
Oct 31, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT
“He was the bettor. He bet on football games.” And that, according to Steve Bartlett, is all he did.
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