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Plugging away to earn their keep in the viciously competitive Metropolitan division of the Eastern Conference, the Columbus Blue Jackets are the NHL’s representative team from the great state of Ohio. Since their founding in the year 2000, Columbus has fought to carve out a place for themselves in the league and attain a status as a Stanley Cup competitor. In recent years, many would argue that this hardworking club has begun to do just that.
The first several years of existence for this team were full of frustrations. The expansion draft had left the new team with a roster devoid of real star power so it was difficult to bring their record out from the bottom of the standings. In fact, Columbus failed to make the playoffs until 2009, where they subsequently lost four straight games to the Detroit Red Wings. Their first playoff victory would come in 2014 during a memorable six game series versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. Matching up with the Pens again following the 2016-17 season, Columbus managed only one win the opening round against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh team. The end of the 2017-2018 season saw Columbus make the playoffs in back to back seasons for the first time in their existence. A six game series against another eventual Stanley Cup Champion team in the Washington Capitals bounced the Blue Jackets from the postseason tournament.
John Tortorella serves as the current head coach for the Blue Jackets. His fiery personality and relentless work ethic brought Columbus from 15th in the conference when he first took over to two consecutive playoff appearances. Things are definitely looking up for this young franchise. At the heart of this group is their captain, Nick Foligno. His leadership is on full display each night as he takes the ice alongside his teammates and was recognized in 2015 when he was named an NHL All Star Game captain when the event was held in Columbus.
Among the other talented players for Columbus are Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner (signed to a new four year contract for $15 million), two big forwards who aren’t afraid throw their weight around. Artemi Panarin and Seth Jones led the team in points last season and are hoping to repeat with improved numbers. Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg also play a major factor for the club along with Pierre-Luc Dubois. Defensively strong with players like Ryan Murray, Columbus does all they can to make the workload easier on their oddball standout goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Bringing in Keith Kinkaid to serve as his backup makes for a strong depth chart for the netminder position. Also adding Matt Duchesne and Ryan Dzingel as the trade deadline approached could help this group get over the hump and win their first playoff series in team history.
Longtime defenseman Jack Johnson departed for Pittsburgh in free agency. In classic fashion, Tortorella didn’t hold back when commenting about Johnson’s decision, sparking interest for many about future games between these two teams.
While still a young franchise, the Columbus Blue Jackets have suited up some great players over their years in the NHL. Among the most memorable are Rick Nash, Sergei Fedorov, Brandon Dubinsky, Jack Johnson, Ryan Johansen, Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno, and Sergei Bobrovsky. Additional information about the Columbus Blue Jackets franchise can be found by clicking here.