Blue Jacket’s New GM and President Don Waddell Speaks At Press Conference

Don Waddell at the NHL awards
Stephen R. Sylvanie | USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, May 29, Don Waddell met with the media to discuss his new position as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Waddell was most recently the GM for the Carolina Hurricanes and has a storied hockey history. He only played one NHL game as a Los Angeles King but also served as an assistant GM turned GM for the Detroit Red Wings, he was then a GM and also president of the Atlanta Thrashers, and later he became president of the Carolina Hurricanes parent company Gale Force Sports & Entertainment before becoming the team’s GM and president from 2018 to earlier this month. In total, Waddell spent ten seasons with the Hurricanes. In his six seasons as President and GM, Carolina won one or more playoff rounds each year. His tenure in Carolina left the team as a strong contender. The Hurricanes were knocked out by the New York Rangers in the playoffs, but they still have many great pieces of their team and will be a contender for years to come. Many of those pieces are ones that Don Waddell was responsible for hiring.

During the press conference, Don strongly believed that the Blue Jackets “have a chance” and that he could make a positive change. At 65 years old he says he has a lot of energy and is a very driven person.

“I wouldn’t take this opportunity at this point in my career unless I felt it could make a difference”

When asked about head coach Pascal Vincent and the future of other Blue Jackets staff Waddell wasn’t sure yet as he hasn’t had time to meet with everyone. He said that there is “No timetable on any decision with anybody from our staff” and that he will spend time talking to all coaches and staff.

“That’s going to be the fun part, getting to know everybody.”

Some think the Blue Jackets head coaching position could be open by the end of the summer. According to Waddell, no major changes are coming the Blue Jackets way. Of course, that could change as time goes on, but he had this to say,

You don’t walk into a new place and make changes without a reason to change.”

Don also talked about the Blue Jacket’s upcoming outdoor game for the 2024-25 season. He was able to experience participating in an outdoor game while he was leading the Carolina Hurricanes and said,

“Besides winning the Stanley Cup, it’s probably the best experience in the National Hockey League”

Overall, Don Waddell seemed very positive about the future of the Columbus Blue Jackets. While he’s not fully acquainted with staff and players, he said, “We got a pretty good start here” when asked how much better he thinks the team will be next season. Once he has had more time to integrate into the organization we’ll know more about the direction the team may be headed. Until then, there is a lot to look forward to with the Blue Jackets this offseason. The 2024 NHL Entry Draft is at the end of June, Waddell has no restrictions from the Hurricanes with his participation in the draft so we may see his first moves happen there.

224. 5th Season, Same Us, New CBJ? CBJectively Speaking

On this episode, we discuss the technical start to the 2024-2025 NHL Season: Free Agency! Sean Monahan dons the Union Blue after signing a 5.5 million dollar AAV deal for five years, Jack Johnson returns to the 614, and we've got a ton of departures to discuss. PLUS, what does arbitration really mean, and when are we going to have a coach?Plus, we send Laura lots of love as she prepares for her second surgery!Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Thread, and Twitter: @CBJectivelyPodCheck us out on Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube: CBJectively SpeakingRate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen!Check out our website: www.cbjectivelyspeaking.comCheck out our merchandise: www.cbjectivelymerch.comJeremy's Stories: https://insidetherink.com/author/jpaul/Laura's Stories: https://insidetherink.com/author/lnorman/
  1. 224. 5th Season, Same Us, New CBJ?
  2. 223. Draft Recap & FA Preview
  3. 222. Laine in the Sand
  4. 221. Don Waddell + Connor
  5. 220. All Things Playoffs

Lance Schrock

Credentialed Writer covering the Columbus Blue Jackets. Host of the BrewJackets Podcast.

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