Brad Larsen was named coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
Larsen, who turns 44 June 28, replaces John Tortorella after the Blue Jackets announced May 9 he would not return after six seasons.
Larsen was an assistant under Tortorella and Todd Richards for seven seasons and coached Springfield of the American Hockey League from 2012-14. Larsen was given a three-year contract.
“I’ve been extremely proud to be a Columbus Blue Jacket and be part of this wonderful community for the past seven years, and I am humbled and honored to be the head coach of this hockey club,” Larsen said.
Larsen played eight seasons in the NHL and scored 48 points (19 goals, 29 assists) in 294 games as a forward for the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers.
Columbus (18-26-12) tied the Detroit Red Wings for last place in the eight-team Discover Central Division. It was the first time the Blue Jackets missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2015-16, Tortorella’s first season.
Tortorella was 227-166-54 in the regular season and 13-18 in the playoffs in six seasons coaching Columbus.
“We underwent an exhaustive process in which we looked very closely at a number of outstanding candidates to be the next coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the one individual we kept coming back to throughout was Brad Larsen,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “Brad was one of the top young coaches in the American Hockey League when he joined our club as an assistant coach, and over the past seven years has earned the respect of our players, staff and organization with his work ethic, hockey acumen and the way he treats people, and we couldn’t be more pleased to introduce him as our next head coach.”
Photo courtesy of NHL.com