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Blues, Hitchcock Agree to One Year Deal; Will Retire Following Season

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Ken Hitchcock to Coach Blues for 1 More Season.

The St. Louis Blues and head coach Ken Hitchcock announced Tuesday that they have agreed on a one year extension, keeping him behind the teams bench for the 2016-2017 season. Hitchcock also announced that this will be his final season coaching in the NHL.

With the Blues, Hitchcock has a record of 224-103-36 during the regular season, and his group has qualified for the playoffs every season. The Blues have also finished 1st or 2nd in the division every season under him and won the division in the 2014-2015 season and the 2011-2012 season, the year he took home the Jack Adams Award as the best coach in the league.

The problem for Hitchcock and the Blues is not having great regular seasons or making the playoffs, but getting to the Stanley Cup final. They team has lost 5 of their 8 playoff series under Hitchcock, and only making the conference finals once, this past season after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars before losing to the San Jose Sharks.

Hitchcock is 4th all time in NHL coaching wins with 757, which is also 2nd among active coaches behind Blackhawks head coach Joel Quienville. Hitchcock started his coaching career in 1996 with the Stars, only winning 15 games after taking over midway through the season. He found success the following season, winning over 40 games every season from 1997 to 2001, including a Stanley Cup in 1999. Following the 2001 season, Hitchcock was let go after a rough start in 2002, and took over as the bench boss for the Philadelphia Flyers, who he served as an assistant coach for 3 years, from 1990-1993. He spent 3 seasons with the Flyers before moving on to the Columbus Blue Jackets for 4 season and then joined the Blues in 2011.

The Blues offered multiple coaches one year contracts, including associate coach Brad Shaw and assistant coach Kirk Muller. While Shaw is expected to find work elsewhere, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said that Muller stands out as a potential successor to Hitchcock, but he has not accepted nor denied the teams one year offer.