So, according to the Dispatch, the Jackets have hired Scott Howson to be the next GM of the Jackets. Unless Scott pulls himself out of the race in the next 24 hours, it looks like he's the man in the chair.
Personally, I think it's great. I don't have a huge bit of comparing to do of Bob Murray v. Scott Howson. But, I have this: Howson has spent the last 7 years in Edmonton, the poster child for small market NHL teams who seem to win more often than they lose. Bring that small market talent to Columbus, a mid-market team who needs a few wins to stretch that to upper mid-market team and we could have something here. With Priest watching the books and Howson stretching a dime, the Jackets could prove to be a major pain in the ass for Cup runs in the coming seasons.
Will it happen this season? I'm not hanging my hat on it, there are some pretty big holes in the roster. A full season of Hitch is a good thing, but is that enough? There will be improvements over last season's roster, I'm sure, but good enough for the 23 point jump needed to get to the playoffs? 12 wins? We'll see...
For now, I'm glad the GM search is over, and I do like the idea of Howson at the helm. He's an up and comer with front office experience, and decent experience at that. The draft will be his first big item...and it's in his new backyard. Can't wait.