John Davidson is getting the band back together.
The former Blues hockey president chose Blues former scouting czar, Jarmo Kekalainen, as the next general manager of the Blue Jackets.
Davidson passed over Kekalainen when he hired Doug Armstrong to become Larry Pleau’s successor. That move paid off for the Blues, but it prompted Kekalainen to move back to Finland to run the storied Jokerit franchise.
His dream was to become GM of a NHL team. And that opportunity arose when Davidson moved on to his new challenge in Columbus.
Kekalainen gained valuable managerial experience at Jokerit while remained wired into the talented European hockey scene. The Blue Jackets must rebuild with the draft, so he became the natural choice to become Davidson’s right-hand man.
Columbus has gathered extra first-round picks, as the Blues did during the rebuild in St. Louis. Jarmo’s challenge will be the same as it was with the Blues: Maximizing the value of those picks.
“It's certainly plays into it,” Davidson told Columbus reporters. “You try to look at the whole picture, everything you want in a general manager. You obviously look at the strengths, and that's something Jarmo does very well.
“We know how important the draft is, especially with a deep draft, and this one is a deep draft. As an organization, we've had a number of meetings already, how we're zeroing in on the draft. This is going to give Jarmo some time to really jump into this. He'll be a major voice.”
- Columbus Blue Jackets