St. Louis Blues re-sign Hitchcock for one final year

St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock comments on the play of Vladimir Tarasenko and what could help the sniper score.

One more year.

The St. Louis Blues Blues have re-signed head coach Ken Hitchcock to a one-year contract extension, president of hockey operations and general manager Doug Armstrong announced Tuesday.

“Ken did a fabulous job, in my opinion, throughout the regular season and throughout the playoffs,” Armstrong said.

Hitchcock, who was set to become a free agent this summer, went public earlier this month on his contract strategy moving forward.

“I want to stay on one-year deals,” he told Hockey Central. “I don’t want to be sitting ripping off a team and taking money when I’m not doing anything. I just feel comfortable taking one-year deals to be honest with you.”

He said Tuesday that he’ll be done coaching after 2016-17.

“I just feel like I’ve got this really good year in me,” Hitchcock said. “This season has invigorated me like no season before.”

After guiding the Blues to the Western Conference final, surely the decorated Hitchcock’s new deal will be worth more than the one-year, $1.2-million deal he signed last May.

Some speculated the Anaheim Ducks and/or Calgary Flames, who do not have a head coach in place for 2016-17, might have had interest in Hitchcock had he not re-upped in St. Louis.

In his five seasons with the Blue since being hired on Nov. 6, 2011, the Edmonton native has amassed a 224-103-36 regular-season record and qualified for the playoffs every spring. His .667 career points percentage is the best in franchise history.

“This group of players, their dynamic has changed, and it’s really exciting right now,” Hitchcock said. “When we break through this ceiling, the potential is unlimited.”

Hitchcock has finished first or second in the Central Division in each of his five seasons in St. Louis, including division titles in both 2014-15 and 2011-12. Following the 2011-12 campaign, he claimed the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach.

Hitchcock, 64, is a three-time Olympic gold medallist with Canada. He won the 1999 Stanley Cup as head coach of the Dallas Stars.

The 2016-17 season will be Hitchcock’s 20th as an NHL head coach.

Armstrong said Hitchcock’s associate coaches have been offered similiar extensions. Brad Shaw, who joined the Blues in 2012, will not return and is free to pursue other opportunities.

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