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New GM Jarmo Kekalainen excited about draft picks as he rebuilds sagging Blue Jackets

Tuesday, 02.26.2013 / 2:25 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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New GM Jarmo Kekalainen excited about draft picks as he rebuilds sagging Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jarmo Kekalainen was a couple of minutes late for his first news conference as the Columbus Blue Jackets' new general manager.

He got lost trying to find his way around the arena.

Now the former St. Louis Blues amateur-scouting director and assistant GM has the task of guiding the Blue Jackets from the depths of the NHL.

The 46-year-old Kekalainen says he likes what he's seen so far in terms of the team's effort. He was along for the final three games of a six-game road trip that ended Sunday.

The native of Finland is gearing up for the April 3 trade deadline and already is salivating over the club's three first-round picks in this summer's draft. His goal, he says, is a team that plays fast, quick and hard.

Quote of the Day

He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.

— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft