In a recently written article by "Down Goes Brown" on The Hockey News, Sean McInode writes who are five general managers besides Chuck Fletcher of the Minnesota Wild to be on the hot seat.
The very first one he mentions is Jarmo Kekalainen, stating: (via THN)
"On the one hand, you could argue that Kekalainen hasn't been given enough time in Columbus. He's only been on the job since February 2013, and while that actually puts him in the upper half of the league's GMs in terms of seniority, it's still less time than you'd ideally give a GM.
On the other hand… well, how much time have you got? The Blue Jackets haven't won a playoff round under Kekalainen (or anyone else), and they missed the playoffs in each of the last two years. The roster is clogged with bad contracts. Kekalainen made a controversial decision at the draft, grabbing Pierre-Luc Dubois instead of Jesse Puljujarvi. And he's already played his coaching card, having replaced Todd Richards with John Tortorella around this time last year.
Add it all up, and the Blue Jackets are under plenty of pressure to get off to a good start this year. Instead, Tortorella is telling the media that they're not even close. That's not a good combination, and you have to wonder how long it might be before president of hockey ops John Davidson gets the urge to clean house and start all over again." (McInode)
Looking over his words on Kekalainen are somewhat factual and somewhat opinionated. Kekalainen has been in Columbus for a while, being hired by John Davidson with their past history in St. Louis with the Blues organization. Davidson and Kekalainen are in the same situation now that they were in with St. Louis- adding elite prospects to make a playoff contender. In St. Louis, they brought up young guys in Vladimir Tarasenko; Alex Piteranglo; and Jaden Schwartz. Columbus has guys developing now in Pierre-Luc Dubois; Zach Werenski; and Oliver Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano. Time will be needed for them to develop, whether both JK and JD are here or not.
As for the decision of Pierre-Luc Dubois over Jesse Puljujarvi, Pulju will be a star in the NHL. He already has experience playing against more competitive players after playing in the Finnish league. His background should've made it easier for the Finnish general manager to take the young winger. However, Kekalainen said he was going to take the best player available, and he went with the young projected center from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
The coaching card between Richards and Tortorella is a message to the players that discipline is needed to get back to the postseason. Having the veterans experience in Torts will help this team, but does it necessarily help the Jackets, especially their youngsters? Maybe not, explaining the recent polls suggesting he may be fired first. Also, like last season, the Jacket are off to a slow start, even after a bold roster switch with swapping Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones.
Overall, Kekalainen is not a bad general manager, adding young star talent in the draft with Oliver Bjorkstrand; Alex Wennberg; Zach Werenski; and Pierre-Luc Dubois in the draft. He was the general manager when the Jackets won their first ever playoff games against the Pittsburgh Penguins. And he has made a monumental franchise trade in Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones.
Have the Jackets won? Not yet, but they are on the right track.
What are your thoughts on the Columbus Blue Jackets?
Is Jarmo Kekalainen on the hot seat??
More to come...