First reactions to Don Waddell being hired as president, GM, and alternate governor for the Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets made it official on Tuesday, naming Don Waddell as their new president of hockey operations, general manager, and alternate governor.
Anaheim Ducks v Carolina Hurricanes
Anaheim Ducks v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages

It's been more than three months since the Blue Jackets relieved Jarmo Kekalainen from his duties as general manager. Today, they finally named his replacement, hiring Don Waddell away from the Carolina Hurricanes.

With the announcement this afternoon, one of the worst kept secrets in sports became official. It was nearly a week ago that rumors of Waddell to Columbus were first floated following a supposed interview.

Once Waddell stepped down from his position with the Hurricanes, we all knew this was coming. So, my first reaction today was not surprise. You know, actually, that's not entirely true. I was surprised by one thing.

I was a little bit surprised that Waddell was given all three titles - with no labeling along the lines of "interim" or "acting" tied to any of them. In short, it's surprising to me that Waddell was given the keys, a full tank of gas - heck, they gave him the whole dang car here.

Now, I'm not saying this is a bad thing. In fact, this could be a very smart decision by the Jacket brass. Waddell has a history of surrounding himself with very intelligent, hard working, loyal people. Handing him the front office in whole gives him the power to do just that.

With that in mind, I don't think the Jackets necesarilly had Waddell anywhere near their radar when this whole process kicked off. In fact, if someone different had come along, I think it's possible that we would have seen a similar setup, with a president and GM job being held by two different people.

But, as soon as the rumors of Waddell to Columbus dropped late last week, it was certainly clear that this was exactly the right guy for the job here. Whether it works or not, hiring Don makes perfect sense for the Blue Jackets.

Waddell has a terrific reputation around the league. His hiring immediately gives the Jackets a fresh perspective to anyone looking in from the outside. The era of Jarmo Kekalainen holding his cards extremely close to his chest - and, (more to the point I'm trying to make here) his harsh negotiations with restricted free agents - is now gone.

That's not to say that Waddell will operate out in the open. But, he's the anti-Jarmo when it comes to working with people. And, what have we said all along? The one golden rule we kept coming back to from the moment this search started:

This team needs to build a new culture.

Don Waddell's hiring is a massive, tremendous step in that direction. I think he's the perfect candidate to build a new culture. Look at the one that exists in Carolina.

We will now get the best of both worlds. We get the fruition of Jarmo Kekalainen's incredible drafting, and Don Waddell's ability to put together competitive, cohesive teams from the top down. Oh, and he can still pull some talent at the draft as well. Though, to be fair, a lot of the draft success in Carolina was analyitically driven - by one of the best numbers guys in the business.

Of the potential hires we were seeing leaked through the media in recent weeks, this was by far and away the best option available to the Blue Jackets. Honestly, I'm really excited. It took me a little bit of time to come around, but this is a guy who has built a very competitive team, in modern times.

That's a lot more than we could say about some of the other names being floated. Fingers crossed that Don comes right in and starts pushing the proper buttons.