3 reasons why Pascal Vincent’s stint as Columbus Blue Jackets head coach was short-lived feat. injuries and trades 

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes
3 reasons why Pascal Vincent’s stint as Columbus Blue Jackets head coach was short-lived feat. injuries and trades

The Columbus Blue Jackets fired head coach Pascal Vincent after just one season behind the bench. The Blue Jackets finished a disappointing season at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division with 66 points, a full 15 points behind the New Jersey Devils.

The lost season also led to the dismissal of former GM Jarmo Kekalainen. With the hiring of former Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell, major changes were expected to take place. Those changes began with Pascal Vincent’s dismissal.

Here's a closer look at three reasons why Pascal Vincent had a short run in Columbus.

3 reasons why Pascal Vincent’s stint was short-lived in Columbus

#1. A hasty promotion

The Blue Jackets had originally hired former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to lead the club last season. However, Babcock was forced to leave about three days before the opening of training camp amid allegations of players’ privacy violations.

That situation left the Blue Jackets to scramble for an answer behind the bench. So, the best solution seemed to be to promote Vincent to the head coaching position, given his time as an assistant. While the idea might have made sense at the time, it didn’t quite work out in the end. Many of Vincent’s decisions seemed hasty and reactionary.

Without the benefit of a full offseason and training camp, it’s hard to blame Vincent for poor decisions. However, he didn’t seem to find any sort of traction throughout the season. Ultimately, the club finished in the basement.

#2. Young player development

Pascal Vincent was heavily criticized for the way he deployed No. 3 pick Adam Fantilli. Heading into the season, there were high expectations for the Bue Jackets’ star rookie. However, Fantilli found himself playing on the wing, failing to draw significant ice time.

In 49 games, Fantilli totaled 27 points through 12 goals and 15 assists, averaging 15:42 of ice time. Unfortunately, an injury prematurely ended his season. The Blue Jackets will hope that their next bench boss will have a better understanding of how to support young player development.

#3. Injuries and trades

Near the end of the regular season, the Blue Jackets were hit with the injury bug. Along with Fantilli, center Kent Johnson and winger Patrik Laine headlined key injuries. Trades such as Jack Roslovic to the New York Rangers left the Blue Jackets’ lineup filled with AHL-level players.

In the end, the Blue Jackets struggled through the last six weeks or so of the season. It seemed like the management had given up on the year and essentially punted for next season. It remains to be seen which candidates will emerge as frontrunners for the Blue Jackets’ head coaching vacancy.

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Edited by Veer Badani
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