Philly Sports Live

Blues bring back Ken Hitchcock on one-year deal (Puck Daddy)

You can cross another name off the list of potentially available NHL head coaches. On Tuesday, the St. Louis Blues and Ken Hitchcock announced they’ve agreed to a one-year extension . From the Blues:  Hitchcock, 63, was originally named the 24th head coach in Blues history on Nov. 7, 2011.  Since, he has guided the Blues to four straight postseason appearances, three 100-point regular season campaigns and two Central Division championships.  In 2014-15, he captured his second Central Division title with the club, while logging the third-best regular season record in franchise history (51-24-7, 109 pts).  With both GM Doug Armstrong and Hitchcock ending the season  not committed to another year  together, the Blues looked elsewhere for a moment, asking the Detroit Red Wings for permission to speak with Mike Babcock. After the Toronto Maple Leafs won that sweepstakes, bringing Hitchcock back seemed inevitable. Since leaving Dallas in 2002, Hitchcock has had a four-year shelf life with teams before things went bad and he was fired, just ask the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets. This past season was his fourth in St. Louis and the pattern almost continued. The Blues have been one of the NHL’s best regular season teams over the last few years, but continue to flame out in the playoffs, failing to meet high expectations. Now that Hitchcock’s been given a stay of execution, the pressure to finally meet and surpass those expectations is even greater. So with another Blues season ending in disappointment, if the head coach isn’t going, will Armstrong tinker with the core of the roster ? Now that he’s shored up the head coach position, the GM’s next task is to lock up Vladimir Tarasenko, who will become another RFA July 1. Making a decision on Jake Allen, also an RFA, would be on his to-do list as well. But there has to be some change within the lineup going forward, right? The Blues only have six UFAs on their roster at the moment and only nine players locked up beyond next season. Is Armstrong willing to make one more run with Hitchcock and this group before making a drastic overhaul? Would it be too late for his own sake? – – – – – – – Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY: