The evolution of the Blue Jackets' front office takes another turn for (I think) the better with the official announcement that former Jacket Chris Clark will join the team as the club's new Player Development Coach.
Previously that role had been filled by Tyler Wright, who now becomes the full time head of amateur scouting. Clark, as most fans know, finished his NHL career in Columbus after being traded by the Capitals as part of the Jason Chimera deal. The former Washington captain worked on a comeback last season with the Bruins organization, but appeared in just six games at the AHL level before making the decision to retire and worked for the Blue Jackets as a scout during the remainder of the season.
Clark was known as a hard working guy who earned his way to the NHL from the NCAA after being drafted by Calgary in the third round of the 1994 entry draft. Respected for his passion and work ethic, he's a "lunch pail" player who saw Columbus as a good place to settle in with his family after the trade. I think there's strong value in bringing together a hockey operations group that sees the value in this community and are willing to live here year round. Putting down roots and building success here should be a goal - not simply seeing Columbus as the gateway to another, better, NHL job.
With all the complaints that the club has lacked an identity, the addition of Clark to the front office feels like another positive step towards shaping the image of the team - perhaps paving the way for an organization where success is measured by hard work, not just raw talent, and where the players who dedicate themselves to maximum effort on and off ice will be given the opportunities to showcase themselves at the NHL level.
It's not sexy, but it has the benefit of creating some excellent organizations and building a strong rapport with fans who know they will be getting the best out of their players every night, regardless of the result.