NHL - METROPOLITAN
Stadium: Nationwide Arena
Coach: Brad Larsen
2022-2023 TEAM LEADERS
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets are an Eastern Conference NHL team in the Metropolitan Division, based in Columbus, Ohio. The Jackets joined the league back in 2000 along with the Minnesota Wild, drafting Rostislav Klesla with their fourth overall pick as the first player in Blue Jackets History.
The colors and logos are based off of Ohio’s contributions to the Union during the American Civil War, being named after the distinct blue coats used by the north during the conflict. As further homage to the Civil War soldiers, the Jackets have a live field cannon at Nationwide arena that fires any time they score a goal; the same type of cannon is also featured as an alternate logo and introduced on a new third jersey in 2010.
The Jackets have struggled to find success as a franchise, finding their first and currently only seven-game playoff series win in 2019, a sweep against the President’s Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning, as well as a five-game series in the 2020 play-in round against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets are a professional ice hockey team based in Columbus, Ohio. The team is a member of the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference of the NHL. The Blue Jackets have a passionate fan base and have made several playoff appearances in recent years.
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Blue Jackets Team History
As a 2000s expansion team, the Blue Jackets struggled with their initial entry to the NHL. Unlike the Seattle Kraken or Vegas Golden Knights, Columbus shared their expansion draft with the Minnesota Wild, making their player pool significantly less effective than modern expansions. Additionally, the expansion draft rules in 2000 were much more strict.
Both Columbus and Minnesota were forced to draft specific positions first (3 goaltenders first, then 8 defenseman, then 13 forwards). It isn’t too difficult then to imagine why the Jackets (and, to a lesser extent, Minnesota) failed to get anything going in the league for nearly a decade.
The Jackets failed to get 30 wins in a season for their first four seasons and would not make the playoffs until the 2008-2009, where they were promptly swept by the Detroit Red Wings. Their first playoff win wouldn’t come until the 2014 playoffs, where they lost 4-2 in a series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Columbus’ first series win finally came in 2019 against a record-setting Tampa Bay Lightning – more on that later.
2022 Key Stats
It’s been an odd season for Columbus this year so in 2021-22. Following their 2019 loss to the Boston Bruins in the second round, the Jackets saw core pieces Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, and Matt Duchene leave the team in free agency. During the 2021 season, centerman Pierre Luc-Dubios was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for winger Patrik Laine with both teams hoping their respective players would find a bounceback with a change of scenery.
Top defenseman Seth Jones was traded to Chicago in the 2021 offseason for a massive haul of prospects and picks. Columbus was projected to be one of the worst teams this season, but they’ve surprisingly played much better than initially expected.
Columbus currently sits at seventh in the Metropolitan division with a record of 15-16-1. Though this sounds pretty bad, the Metro is actually quite competitive this year, and the Jackets sit just one point behind the Flyers and two points behind the Devils.
Oliver Bjorkstrand leads the team in scoring with nine goals and 14 assists, followed by off-season acquisition Jakob Voracek with 23 points and Boone Jenner with 20 points. Defenseman Zach Werenski has taken over as the undisputed top defenseman of the team, with 20 points scored in 30 games. Patrik Laine has been struggling with injuries all season long but has finally made it back to the lineup, As of writing, Laine has 11 points in 13 games played.
The Jackets can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to goaltending. Despite Elvis Merzlikins being a solid replacement after the departure of Sergei Bobrovsky in 2019, the goaltender was injured on January 3, right after he replaced goaltender Daniil Tarasov who was also injured. If they can stay healthy, Columbus’ goaltending has been one of the better parts of the team since they started their rebuild in the 2019-2020 season.
Championships Won by the Team
Unfortunately, the Blue Jackets have never won a championship in their franchise history. In fact, they’ve only made the playoffs six times, with a record of 15-26 over those series. The highest they’ve ever placed in a season was third in the Metropolitan in the 2016-2017 season with a record of 50-24-8, where they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
The Penguins would go on to win the cup that year. Similarly, the Jackets would lose to the Washington Capitals in six games the very next year, and Washington would also go on to win the Cup.
It should also be mentioned that one of the Jackets’ playoff wins came during the 2020 play-in round, a tournament-style best-of-five series to determine seeding for the playoffs. The season was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the No. 9 seed Jackets being matched up against the No. 8 seed, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Despite only being a best-of-five series, the NHL still considers all qualifying games in the tournament as playoff games, making their 3-2 win over Toronto their second ever playoff victory.
Important Team Events
Without a doubt, the most important event in the history of the Columbus Blue Jackets was the 2019 playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Columbus just barely squeaked into the playoffs as the second wildcard team in the Eastern Conference, finding themselves matched up against the president trophy winning Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning were absolutely stacked that year, finishing off the season with a record of 62-16-4, tying the NHL record for most wins with the 1996 Detroit Red Wings and the first to do so in the salary cap era. The Lightning had three players that scored more than a point per game on the season, along with the Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy and his .925 SV%.
Columbus, on the other hand, finished the season with a 47-31-4 record and just barely made it to the playoffs. The Jackets decided to buy at the deadline despite their low chances of making it, acquiring Matt Duchene, Julius Bergman, Ryan Dzingel, Keith Kinkaid, and Adam McQuaid before the trade deadline.
Artemi Panarin was the only player to score a point per game, finishing the season with 28 goals and 59 points. Cam Atkinson also had an excellent season, managing to score 41 goals on the season, tying Rick Nash for the franchise record for most goals in a season. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had a successful season in net as well, finishing the season with a .913 SV% and a record of 37-24-1. While the team was definitely good, it was nowhere near as successful as the Lightning had been.
Despite this, the Columbus Blue Jackets became the only team in the history of the NHL to sweep the President’s Trophy winner, overcoming a 3-1 Tampa Bay lead in Game 1 and refusing to look back for the rest of the series. Columbus not only defeated the Lightning – they dominated the Bolts, winning Game One by a score of 4-3, Game Two 5-1, Game Three 3-1, and Game Four 7-3. Though they lost to the Boston Bruins in six games in the second round, the sweep of the Lightning remains one of the single most memorable moments in the NHL’s recent history.
The definitive player for the Columbus Blue Jackets franchise is without a doubt Rick Nash, who was drafted by Columbus first overall in the 2002 draft. Nash holds nearly all franchise records for Columbus: games played (674), most goals (289), most assists (258), most points (547), and power play goals (83).
Nash played for the Jackets from 2002-2012 before being traded to the New York Rangers. Nash eventually returned to the Blue Jackets organization after retiring at 34 years old due to a concussion, returning as the director of player development.
Sergei Bobrovksy holds most of the franchise records for goaltending, playing with Columbus from 2012-2019 after being acquired from the Flyers for a second and two fourth-round picks, a clear steal for Columbus. Bobrovsky holds the franchise records for most wins (213), games played (374), shutouts (33), and minutes (21,804). He would win the Vezina trophy with Columbus in 2013 with an average of 2.0 goals allowed and a save percentage of .932%.
The Blue Jackets have had a total of 10 coaches in their franchise history, though only three coaches have managed to post a winning percentage over .500. The first coach to do so was Ken Hitchcock from 2006-2010, with a record of 125-123-36. Hitchcock would bring the Blue Jackets to their first ever playoff appearance in 2009, but would ultimately finish his tenure with a disappointing .000 playoff record after being swept.
Claude Noel led the team in 2010 for a brief 24 game stint after Hitchcock was let go, being the second coach in franchise history to technically finish above .500 with a 10-8-6 record.
The most prominent coach in Blue Jackets history is John Torterella, who was with the team from 2015-2021. Tortorella was able to get the Jackets into the postseason on four different occasions, winning the Jack Adams award in the 2016-2017 season and overseeing their historic sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019. Torterella was famous for maximizing the effectiveness of his players with two-way play, regardless of their skill or ceiling.
Though this was effective, it led to some players becoming disengaged with the team. The biggest example was Pierre Luc-Dubois in January of 2021, who did not see eye-to-eye with the direction of the team and requested a trade after being benched by Tortilla for his lack of effort.
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Columbus Blue Jackets Frequently Asked Questions
The Blue Jackets entered the NHL in 2000, alongside the Minnesota Wild.
Rick Nash holds nearly all franchise records for a forward, and was drafted first overall by the team in 2002.
The Jackets are named after the Union blue uniforms from the American Civil War, an homage to Ohio’s contribution and sacrifice during the war.
In 2019, the BLue Jackets won their first ever playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but would lose to the Bruins in the second round in a 4-2 series.
The Jackets ran into both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals during their respective championship runs, and would likely consider them rivals. However, Columbus would match up with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs for two years in a row and would likely consider them more serious rivals: once in 2019 with their historic sweep, and then once more during the 2020 playoffs in Toronto.
Though the Lightning would win the series 4-1, all but one game was decided by only one goal. Game One of that series had five overtime periods before a winner was decided, the fourth-longest in NHL playoff history!