COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -The Columbus Blue Jackets have hired Edmonton Oilers assistant general manager Scott Howson as their general manager on Thursday.
Howson takes over a job held by Doug MacLean, who was fired in April and had been with the team since its start in 2000. MacLean, who also was president, oversaw the drafts, signed free agents, made trades and sculpted the public perception of the franchise in its six years, when it had a record of 172-258-62. Columbus is the only current NHL team to never make the playoffs.
``I'm excited for this opportunity and I can't wait to get started,'' the 47-year-old Howson said in a phone interview.
In Edmonton, he oversaw personnel decisions and contract negotiations, including salary cap issues, a skill that helped the small-market Oilers reach the Stanley Cup finals in 2006 and could also help the Blue Jackets.
Team president Mike Priest said in an interview last week that the Blue Jackets need to spend more time developing young players and to avoid older, high-priced players. Specifics of the multiyear deal with Howson won't be released, said Todd Sharrock, the Blue Jackets' vice president of public relations.

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