St. Louis Blues: Don't Underestimate the Hiring of Claude Julien

Although somewhat underappreciated because of the NHL draft and the start of free-agency, the St. Louis Blues' hiring of Claude Julien is significant and can greatly assist the Blues.
Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

"Julien, 64, boasts more than 20 years of coaching experience, including 19 seasons as an NHL head coach. He began his career as the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens in 2002, where he spent three seasons. Julien then spent one year behind the New Jersey Devils bench before serving 10 seasons with the Boston Bruins. During his tenure in Boston, the Blind River, Ontario, native accumulated a franchise-leading 419 regular-season wins, 57 playoff wins, and captured the 2009 Jack Adams Award as the NHL's best coach," shared the St. Louis Blues Press Release.

Claude Julien is not here to take anyone's job, but rather to fulfill a mentorship and assistant coaching role, supporting Drew Bannister and Steve Ott as much as he can.

Julien's tenure in Boston stands as the pinnacle of his successful career. His Stanley Cup win in 2010-11 and his team's journey to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012-13 highlight his ability to elevate a team's performance.

St. Louis Blues: Is bringing Julien on board a personal move for Drew Bannister?

While GM Doug Armstrong undoubtedly played a role in hiring Julien, Bannister will greatly benefit from the move to bring Julien on board. Though Bannister has ample experience in hockey, including significant experience coaching in the AHL, the move to bring a veteran NHL coach will benefit Bannister and the entire team.

Julien's role will be to assist Bannister in various aspects of coaching, from strategy development to player management, and to help bolster the St. Louis Blues to competitive league play.

Of note is Steve Ott's promotion to associate coach, which was announced at the same time as the Julien hiring. This promotion underscores the team's commitment to a strong coaching staff and Ott's potential to contribute significantly to the team's success.

Bannister is looking to improve on his own success from a first-year record of 30-19-5, which Armstrong has got to be pleased with. Adding Julien, whose overall NHL record is 667-445-10, is a great step to improve the coaching staff and further assist Bannister in developing his own style of NHL coaching.

Julien's points percentage was well above .500 at .587. In his last head coaching stop in Montreal, Julien only had one losing season. His most successful year of late was 2018-19 when he finished the season with 96 points and a 44-30-8 record.

With Julien's arrival, the team now has a permanent coaching staff, bringing a sense of relief to Bannister and signaling a fresh start. The 2024-25 season has everyone's attention.