Blue Jackets introduce new GM Howson

Scott Howson was introduced as the new general manager for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, giving him a full week to cram as the team hosts the upcoming NHL entry draft.

Scott Howson was introduced as the new general manager for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, giving him a full week to cram as the team hosts the upcoming NHL entry draft.

Howson, 47, has assisted Oilers GM Kevin Lowe since 2000, specializing in contract negotiations and salary cap management.

Columbus had been searching for a new GM since April 19, when they dismissed president and GM Doug MacLean.

The Blue Jackets are 172-258-62 since entering the league as an expansion entry in 2000-01, and are the only franchiseyet to make the playoffs.

"I just see this franchise as a bit of a sleeping giant," said Howson. "I think the fan base is passionate here and I think if we provide a winning product on the ice, I think this city and this state will get very excited about this team."

The Blue Jackets select seventh overall in the June 22 draft.

Howson said the fact that he had already been helping in draft preparations for the Oilers, who have a trio of first-round picks, would enable a good transition for working in a such a short timeframe with the Columbus scouting staff.

Howson joins the likes of Brian Burke and John Ferguson Jr. as general managers who both played competitive hockey and earned law degrees.

Like Ferguson, Howson steps into the job with a veteran coach already in place. Ken Hitchcock replaced Gerard Gallant last November.

"To be perfectly frank, one of the intriguing things was having a good coach behind the bench already," Howson said.

Howson played briefly in the NHL, posting five goals and eight points in 18 games for the New York Islanders in 1984-85.

After graduating from law school, he ran Edmonton's farm team for six years before joining the moving up to the NHL level.

Howson had high praise for the Oilers organization on Friday, singling out Lowe, coach Craig MacTavish and president Patrick LaForge.