(HockeyStL) - In what can be considered their first major transaction of the offseason, the Blues announced that they have picked up head coach Ken Hitchcock’s contract option and have extended his tenure with the team through the 2014-15 season.
Hitchcock, 62, will enter his fourth season as the Blues’ bench boss. Since Hitchcock took command of the Blues, the team has posted a 124-55-20 regular-season record. The coach has also become the club’s all-time leader in point percentage (.673). Under Hitchcock’s lead, the Blues have appeared in three straight postseasons.
Returning to the Blues' bench along with Hitchcock next season are assistant coaches Brad Shaw and Ray Bennett. The two coaches have spent the last eight seasons with St. Louis.
The Blues also announced on Wednesday that assistant coach Gary Agnew and goaltending coach Corey Hirsch will not be retained.
Agnew joined the Blues during the 2012 offseason. He was in charge of the Blues’ power-play, which went 2-for-29 in this year’s playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks. Hirsch has been with the Blues since 2010.
“I would like to thank Gary and Corey for their diligence and dedication as members of our organization, and wish them nothing but success in their future endeavors,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement.
The club has already begun searching for Hirsch and Agnew’s replacements and will not comment further on the search until the positions are filled. It would be in the Blues' best interest to fill the vacancies within the next couple of weeks, prior to free agency.
Assuming that the club’s interest in re-signing Ryan Miller still persists, former Buffalo Sabres goaltending coach Jim Corsi could be a candidate for Hirsch’s spot.
Corsi spent 16 seasons with Buffalo before the team axed the stat guru in April. Corsi worked with Miller in 11 of his 16 seasons in Buffalo. The Blues are expected to at least have conversations about a new contract with Miller, and Corsi would certainly be a fit if the veteran goalie has interest in returning to the Blues.