Blue Jackets offseason news continues with Promotions, Changes within Hockey Operations Department

 JUNE 16, 2021

Rick Nash, Josef Boumedienne promoted; former Jackets Derek Dorsett, Mark Letestu named development coaches

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager and Associate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced several changes to the club’s hockey operations department today.  Rick Nash has been promoted to director of player development and Josef Boumedienne has been promoted to director of pro scouting, while former Blue Jackets Derek Dorsett and Mark Letestu have been named development coaches.  In addition, Brad Thiessen has replaced Jim Corsi as goaltending development coach and Nelson Ayotte has retired after five seasons with the club, including the past four as director of high performance.

“We are always looking to strengthen our hockey operations group and these moves do just that, particularly in the area of player development,” said Kekalainen.  “In Rick, Derek, Mark and Brad, we have four former players with a combined 34 years of experience in the NHL and 17 in the AHL, as well as having played major junior and college, so they will be able to share a wealth of knowledge and experience with prospects throughout our organization.  They are also passionate about the Blue Jackets, our city and what we are building here.”

Nash, 37, will supervise the club’s development coaches, oversee the progress of prospects throughout the organization and provide feedback to management on player advancement.  He spent the past two years with the Blue Jackets as a special assistant to the general manager following a decorated 15-year playing career.  The club’s all-time leading scorer and first overall pick of the 2002 NHL Draft, Nash was a five-time All-Star and registered 289 goals and 258 assists for 547 points in 674 games as a Blue Jacket from 2002-12.  The Brampton, Ontario native made seven All-Star Game appearances and tallied 437-368-805 in 1,060 career NHL games with Columbus, the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins from 2002-18.

Boumedienne (pronounced Boo-MEH-dee-ehn), 43, originally joined the Blue Jackets as a European scout in July 2013 and has served as director of European scouting since July 2016.  The Stockholm, Sweden native retired in 2013 following a 17-year playing career.  A fourth round pick by New Jersey at the 1996 NHL Draft, he registered 4-12-16 and 36 penalty minutes in 47 career NHL games with the Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals, added 33-143-176 in 295 career AHL outings and also played professionally in Sweden, Russia, Finland and Switzerland.

Dorsett, 34, recorded 51-76-127 and 1,314 penalty minutes over a 10-year NHL career with the Blue Jackets, Rangers and Vancouver Canucks from 2008-18.  The Kindersley, Saskatchewan native was selected by Columbus in the seventh round, 189th overall, in the 2006 NHL Draft and posted 27-38-65 and 727 penalty minutes in 280 career contests with the club from 2008-13. 

Letestu, 36, registered 93-117-210 and 90 penalty minutes in 567 career NHL contests with the Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets from 2009-20.  The Elk River, Alberta native is one of seven players in club history to play for Columbus on multiple occasions, notching 44-58-102 in 255 career games from 2011-15 and 2017-19.

Thiessen, 35, played 12 seasons of professional hockey before retiring at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.  A native of Aldergrove, British Columbia native, he posted a 146-100-40 record with a 2.51 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and 28 shutouts in 290 career AHL games.  He spent the past five campaigns with the Cleveland Monsters, Columbus’s AHL affiliate.

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