Columbus Blue Jackets general manager and associate governor Jarmo Kekalainen today announced several changes to the club’s hockey operations department. Rick Nash has been promoted to Director of Player Development and Josef Boumedienne has been promoted to Director of Professional Recruiting, while former Blue Jackets Derek Dorsett and Mark Letestu have been appointed Development Coaches. Additionally, Brad Thiessen replaced Jim Corsi as goalkeeper development coach and Nelson Ayotte retired after five seasons with the club, the last four as high performance director.
Nash, 37, will oversee the club’s development coaches, oversee the progress of prospects across the organization and provide management feedback on player advancement. He has spent the last two years with the Blue Jackets as Special Assistant to the General Manager after a 15-year decorated playing career. The club’s all-time top scorer and first overall pick in the 2002 NHL Draft, Nash was called to the All-Star Team five times and had 289 goals and 258 assists for 547 points in 674 games for the Blue. Jacket from 2002 to 2012. The Brampton, Ont., Native played seven all-star games and had 437-368-805 in 1,060 career NHL games with Columbus, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins from 2002 to 2018.
Boumedienne (pronounced Boo-MEH-dee-ehn), 43, initially joined the Blue Jackets as a European Scout in July 2013 and has served as Director of European Scouting since July 2016. The native of Stockholm, Sweden, retired in 2013 after a year of playing career. A fourth-round pick by New Jersey in the 1996 NHL Draft, he scored 4-12-16 and 36 penalty minutes in 47 career NHL games with the Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning and Capitals of Washington, adding 33-143-176 in 295 career AHL outings and has also played professionally in Sweden, Russia, Finland and Switzerland.
Dorsett, 34, recorded 51-76-127 and 1,314 penalty minutes during a 10-year NHL career with the Blue Jackets, Rangers and Vancouver Canucks from 2008 to 2018. The native of Kindersley, Sask., Was selected by Columbus in the seventh round, 189th overall, in the 2006 NHL Draft and scored 27-38-65 and 727 penalty minutes in 280 career games with the club from 2008 to 2013.
Letestu, 36, scored 93-117-210 and 90 penalty minutes in 567 career NHL games with the Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets from 2009 to 2020. The Elk Point, Alta. Native is one of seven players in club history to play for Columbus on multiple occasions, scoring 44-58-102 in 255 career games between 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, BC, he was 146-100-40 with a 2.51 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and 28 shutouts in 290 career games in the THE H. He has spent the last five campaigns with the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL branch of Columbus.