Jackets extend coach Todd Richards’ pact 2 years

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed head coach Todd Richards to a two-year contract extension through the 2016-17 season.

The 47-year-old Richards, formerly head coach of the Minnesota Wild, has led Columbus to an 85-70-16 record, including a franchise-best mark of 43-32-7 in 2013-14. The Jackets qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second time and posted the first postseason wins in club history in a first-round loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

GM Jarmo Kekalainen called Richards one of the top young coaches in the NHL.

After being elevated from assistant coach he guided the club to an 18-21-2 mark in 2011-12, then led the Blue Jackets to a 24-17-7 mark and the highest winning percentage in team history (.573) in 2012-13.

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