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Jarmo Kekalainen leading candidate to become Blue Jackets GM

Multiple sources have told thn.com that Jarmo Kekalainen will be named GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday morning, replacing former GM Scott Howson and becoming the first European GM in NHL history.

Neither of the sources is in the Blue Jackets organization, so at the moment it is still speculation. Another source said former Los Angeles Kings GM Dave Taylor is definitely out of the running.

It should come as no surprise that Kekalainen is poised to take the Columbus job. He and the Blue Jackets president of hockey operations, John Davidson, worked very closely when both were with the St. Louis Blues. Davidson held the same job in St. Louis and Kekalainen was the Blues assistant GM and director of amateur scouting.

The 46-year-old Kekalainen comes very highly regarded. He has a strong background of scouting both in Europe and North America. Kekalainen played college hockey at Clarkson and had a brief playing career with the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins, but it has been at the scouting and managerial levels that he has made his mark.

Kekalainen was GM of IFK Helsinki from 1995 to 1999, then joined the Senators as director of player personnel. He moved to the Blues in 2002 and worked there until last year, when he returned home to become GM of the Jokerit in the Finnish League.

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