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McLellan, Woodcroft in mix for Blue Jackets head coach job


One day after firing head coach Pascal Vincent, the Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to begin a thorough search for their next coach, with Todd McLellan, Dean Evason, Jay Woodcroft and Jeff Blashill as the early names to watch according to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun.

LeBrun adds that the Blue Jackets are looking for someone with head coaching experience in the NHL.

McLellan, 56, was last head coach of the Los Angeles Kings for parts of five seasons before being fired on Feb. 2, 2024 after leading the team to a 23-15-10 record through 48 games. He had previously led the team to two payoff appearances, where they were eliminated by the Edmonton Oilers in the first round. McLellan has a 598-412-134 record in 1,144 as a head coach with the Kings, Oilers, and San Jose Sharks.

Woodcroft, 47, began the 2023-24 season as head coach of the Oilers but was fired after 13 games when the team started 3-9-1. He had a 79-41-13 record as Oilers' coach, leading the team to the Western Conference Final in 2021-22.

Evason, 59, spent parts of five seasons as head coach of the Minnesota Wild before he was fired after 19 games this past season, when the team fell to 5-10-4. He led the team to three consecutive playoff appearances from 2020 to 2023, losing in the first round each time. The Wild had a 147-77-27 regular season record with Evason at the helm.

Blashill, 50, was head coach of the Detroit Red Wings from 2015-16 to 2021-22 before being fired. He compiled a 204-261-72 record as the Red Wings' head coach, making the playoffs just once (2015-16) over his seven-year tenure.

The Blue Jackets finished last season with a 27-43-12 record, missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Columbus holds the fourth overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.