After serving half a season as a special teams consultant -- and more -- for the Blue Jackets, Hockey Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis will not return to the team this season.
St. Louis was hired in January and would fly in every couple of weeks during the rest of the 2018-19 season, working with the team's power play and penalty kill while also serving as a sounding board to players who wanted to tap into his vast knowledge base.
But this season, St. Louis has not been with the team during fall camp, and he has officially decided not to return to pitch in with Columbus because of family commitments. All three of his sons are high-level youth hockey players, and St. Louis is heavily involved in their careers in Connecticut where the family has settled.
"I really enjoyed working with the team last year and want to thank Jarmo, Torts and everyone at the Blue Jackets for the opportunity," St. Louis said in a statement. "While I would have loved to do it again, my priority continues to be my family, and those commitments would make it too difficult this year. They have a really good, young team and I wish them the best of luck."
St. Louis played under Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella in Tampa Bay, where the two won the 2004 Stanley Cup together, and finished his standout career with both the Lighting and Rangers in 2015 with 391 goals and 1,033 points in his NHL career.
He reunited with Tortorella last winter with the Blue Jackets, and the head coach said St. Louis' impact went far beyond helping Columbus with special teams. St. Louis gave players his phone number and told them to reach out at any time if they had questions, and Tortorella said the Blue Jackets gravitated to the Hall of Famer whenever he was around.
"I think it's a little misconceived here," Tortorella said in February. "Yeah, he's doing a lot of work with (assistant coach Brad Larsen) on the power play. He's a lot more involved than that as far as dealing with some players that have struggled.
"Like I told Marty today when we were going over tape and what he showed a couple of guys, I said, 'I can't explain that,' so it's good that guy that sees that and has experienced that play or tried to make that play is able to talk to those guys. Who the hell am I to talk to about those plays with them? That's what's really cool about this.
"I watched him today in practice, I watched the players. They're really gravitating to him, asking him a couple questions, just banging (things) around with him. I'm not sure where it goes, but he's had a tremendous influence already in just the short time since he's been with us."
St. Louis' oldest son, Ryan, joined the U.S. National Under-17 team this year and is committed to play college hockey at Northeastern University in Boston. His middle son, Lucas, is 14 and his youngest, Mason, is 11, and all three play hockey. St. Louis, who said he could see himself as a full-time NHL coach down the road when he joined the team last year, only took the job with Columbus last winter because he could still spend the majority of his time at home and continue to coach his kids.
"Torts called me a few weeks back," St. Louis told BlueJackets.com in January. "He knows what I'm doing right now with my kids and asked if I want to get involved without taking my time with my kids away from me, so to me, I thought it was a win-win for everybody. I still get to do the things I need to do and want to do with my kids but get to help Columbus as well.
"I think it's a chance for me to get my feet wet, get inside the ropes a little bit but still do what I love to do with my kids."