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Will Guy Boucher be the next coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets?

There are multiple reports circulating that the Columbus Blue Jackets have extended an offer to Guy Boucher to be their next head coach. Boucher is the hot young name among up-and-coming coaches, and led the Hamilton Buldogs of the AHL to an impressive 52-17-11 record with Montreal Canadiens affiliate.

That the Blue Jackets have decided to look to Boucher to be their next coach is no surprise, as he would instantly bring fresh look to the franchise. At 38, he would be the youngest coach in the NHL and there is nothing but good things to say about his future in coaching. Yet there is the question of whether he is actually ready to take the job and whether the Montreal Canadiens are willing to let him leave their system.

From TSN’s Bob McKenzie:

Can the Canadiens really afford to let a homegrown Francophone product with some star qualities go elsewhere to ply his trade?

Well, Montreal head coach Jacques Martin isn’t going anywhere, not right now anyway, just one year into his tenure with the Canadiens.

McKenzie suggests that perhaps Boucher and current Canadiens assistant coach Kirk Muller would switch places, providing a promotion for Boucher and an avenue for Muller to get head coaching experience before eventually moving back to the NHL.

The Columbus Dispatch suggests that it’s not just a matter of whether the Canadiens are willing to let Boucher get away, but whether he would actually fit with the personnel they currently have in place.

He has three college degrees and has been called a master motivator, a team builder and a hockey genius. He developed a 1-3-1 forecheck that relies on mobile defensemen who can carry the puck.

This is where the anxiety creeps in. Of the Jackets’ defensemen, only Kris Russell seems suited for that, although former first-round draft pick John Moore would, too. But would it work with Mike Commodore? It’s hard to picture.

Then again, Howson hoped to rebuild the blue line this summer, so if Boucher accepts - uh, a young coach is being offered an NHL job and we have to wonder if he’ll accept? Boucher’s reluctance might be the most worrisome part.

Boucher has just one year of head coaching experience, and this could be a time when a team is hoping to strike gold early. Boucher is on the fast track to being the next great coach, and the Blue Jackets would love nothing more than to finally be able to take the next step.