Last weekend, the Columbus Blue Jackets and former head coach John Tortorella decided to mutually part ways rather than signing a new deal. While it’s nice to see a happy split after six seasons, it just means that Columbus needs to find a new bench boss.
It’s unlikely that they’ll hire their guy any time soon, especially if a coach that they’re looking at is on a playoff team. However, that hasn’t stopped people from speculating who may take the job next. Bovada has released odds on who the next Blue Jackets head coach could be. Currently, they're favoring Rikard Gronborg and Mike Vellucci at +325 odds.
Some consider Gronborg to be one of the best coaches who aren’t in the NHL at the moment. The Swedish coach has spent most of his career coaching in Europe but has been rumored to have teams interested in his services for years now. Gronborg has coached Team Sweden to multiple medals at World Championship and Olympic events, so it’s no surprise that people want to see what he can do on the NHL stage.
However, there are also equal odds that Vellucci will be the next Blue Jackets head coach. He’s currently a Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach, which means Columbus may have to wait a while to talk to him now that the NHL postseason is nearly here. Still, Vellucci also has an impressive track record. He coached the Plymouth Whalers to an Ontario Hockey League championship in 2007 and recently led the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League to a 2018-19 Calder Cup victory. Regardless of who the Blue Jackets land, both Gronborg and Vellucci are more than qualified for the post.
Columbus Blue Jackets Odds: Who Will Be the Next Head Coach?
Odds via Bovada as of Friday, May 14
- Rikard Gronborg (+325)
- Mike Vellucci (+325)
- Bruce Boudreau (+500)
- Bob Hartley (+500)
- Kevin Dineen (+500)
- Jukka Jalonen (+550)
- Gerard Gallant (+600)
- Claude Julien (+650)
Is Boudreau Incoming?
After being fired by the Minnesota Wild partway through the 2019-20 NHL campaign, Bruce Boudreau (+500) could return to the league as the Blue Jackets head coach next season. While he might not have a Stanley Cup on his resume, he’s been one of the better coaches to emerge from the 2000s.
Teams coached under Boudreau have qualified for the playoffs in 10 out of 14 seasons, so there’s a good chance that he could bring Columbus back to the playoffs in 2022. A former Jack Adams winner for top bench boss in the league, Boudreau has the 22nd-most coaching wins in NHL history. It could be hard to find another candidate who could match his experience.
Blue Jackets Odds: Hartley Another Option
Someone who also has +500 odds to be the next Blue Jackets coach is Bob Hartley. He’s been out of the league since the 2015-16 season, however, his coaching record speaks for itself. At 40 years old, Hartley coached the Colorado Avalanche to a 2000-01 Stanley Cup Championship run. Since then, his teams haven’t had the greatest playoff experience, but one Stanley Cup victory is a lot more than other coaches see. Hartley coached Avangard Omsk in Russia last season, leading the KHL club to a Gagarin Cup win. Yes, the KHL isn’t equivalent to the NHL in terms of talent, but it shows that Hartley still has what it takes to be a professional coach. Now, he just needs a team to give him the chance.