The Columbus Blue Jackets came into the league in 2000-2001 and have only seen one playoff birth in their 12 seasons as a franchise. The Jackets made the playoffs in 2009, but their stay was short-lived, and the Detroit Red Wings swept the Jackets in the first round. The Jackets fell into the 9th spot in the Western Conference this season finishing with a total of 55 points, the same as the 8th seeded Minnesota Wild, but since the Wild owned the tie-breaker, the Blue Jackets were left out in the cold.
The Jackets turned their season around late, but it wasn’t enough to get them in. They finished the season with a record of 24-17-7. The Jackets were solid on home ice, but once they hit the road, they had a much harder time finishing games. The offense couldn’t muster up quite enough to help out their Vezina winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Bobrovsky carried the Jackets to the end, but it wasn’t quite enough. Bob finished the season with 37 starts, posting a record of 21-11-6. He posted a goals against average of 2.00 flat, with an impressive .932% save percentage. He added four shutouts to cap off his well deserved Vezina season.
Mark Letestu had 13 goals to lead the Blue Jackets in scoring. He added 14 assists for a total of 27 points on the season. Vinny Prospal, Brandon Dubinsky, and Fedor Tyutin all matched 18 assists this season to share the team lead. Dubinsky had 2 goals as well, giving him 20 points on the year. Tyutin added 4 goals of his own to put his point total at 22. Prospal, who led the Jackets in points this season, had 12 goals, giving him a season total of 30 points.
The special teams in Columbus were less than impressive this season. The powerplay ranked third worst in the league at a disheartening 14.2%. The penalty kill was a bit better coming in at 82.6%, ranking 11th in the NHL. The Jackets were one of the least penalized teams in the league only going shorthanded 144 times over the season.
The Blue Jackets went out at the trade deadline and brought in star scorer, Marian Gaborik. Another blockbuster trade between the Blue Jackets and the New York Rangers within the last year. Gaborik was brought in to try and add a little bit of goal scoring skill that the Jackets had been lacking. Gaborik was having a rather disappointing season in New York and became expendable. Gaborik is in need of a new contract after next season, but GM Jarmo Kekalainen has said he’s in no hurry to get him re-signed. Gaborik put up 8 points in the 12 games he played in the Jackets sweater this season.
The Blue Jackets will be making the move with the Detroit Red Wings to the Eastern Conference this season. They will join Division IV with the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers*, Philadelphia Flyers, and Washington Capitals. This will be a tough division for all of the teams, I’m really excited to follow this division next season.
*A side note from an angered and spiteful fan of the Detroit Red Wings. Last summer, Rick Nash was being shopped by the Blue Jackets, and he gave them a list of teams he would be willing to pay for. Well, the Red Wings happened to be a favorite of his, and when the Wings made “one hell of an offer”, the Jackets declined and waited it out until they got what they thought was useful enough from the Rangers. Well Columbus, since you tried to avoid having to play against your former star so often by trading him outside of your current division, I would like to say, “HA! I HOPE HE RUINS YOU IN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE SIX GAMES HE WILL SKATE AGAINST YOU A SEASON IN A RANGERS UNIFORM.” And to Rick Nash, I love the way you play and would have loved to see you in the winged wheel. Good luck in New York, I hope this next season is better than the last.