St. Louis Blues Reportedly Retaining Ken Hitchcock “Barring Anything Dramatic”


According to a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock will return to the team next year “barring anything dramatic happening”. It was left unsaid exactly what those extenuating dramatic circumstances would be.

The Blues have been quite slow in addressing their coaching position for the 2015-16 season. Hitchcock, who has not yet received a contract for next season, has been forced to sit around and wait for something to materialize. With Hitchcock technically under contract with the season still going for four teams, the Blues reportedly talked to free agent coach Mike Babcock, who eventually chose to go to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hitchcock and general manager Doug Armstrong have reportedly begun more active discussions about the job in recent days, though Friedman’s report was the first real indication that something substantial had come out of those talks.

More from St. Louis Blues

The 63-year-old Hitchcock has led one of the most successful regular season franchises in the NHL since taking over early in the 2011-12 season, as he has a record of 175-79-27 over four seasons with the Blues. The Blues have finished in first place in the Central Division twice since he took over while finishing in second in the other two seasons.

However, Hitchcock’s teams have not held up in the playoffs, and he’s led the Blues to only one postseason series victory over his tenure, which came in the 2011-12 season. Since then, the Blues have lost three straight first-round series in six games, with this year’s defeat being particularly deflating due to the fact that the second-seeded Blues lost to the seventh-seeded Minnesota Wild, who went on to be swept in four games by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round.

More from Arch Authority

As with any situation, there are both pros and cons to Hitchcock’s apparent return. The Blues will be able to continue running the system that has allowed them to be a consistent Western Conference power in recent years. That way, the Blues avoid  a potential need for heavy turnover if the current set of players doesn’t match a new coach’s desired style of play.

With that said, it’s become quite clear that the organization can’t move forward with exactly the same group of players that is currently in place. There are players among the team’s core who just do not mesh with Hitchcock’s style of coaching, and the Blues are going to have to let go of the most toxic ones if they expect to compete when the going gets tough next season.

Next: Blues Promote Martin Brodeur to Assistant GM