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It’s Columbus Blue Jackets day on PHT

Aug 25, 2013, 10:20 AM EDT

Sergei Bobrovsky AP

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Columbus Blue Jackets finished the 2011-12 campaign with the worst record in the NHL. It was the latest failure for a franchise that hasn’t won a single playoff game since its start in 2000.

It had gotten so bad that the face of the franchise, Rick Nash, wanted out and they eventually accommodated his request. So naturally expectations weren’t high for the Blue Jackets in 2013 minus their superstar. At first, they didn’t surprise, going 5-12-4 to start the season. And then Sergei Bobrovsky stepped up.

Bobrovsky was stunning in the final two months of the season and ended up with a 2.00 GAA and .932 save percentage in 38 games en route to winning the Vezina Trophy. Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, his efforts proved to be too late as they missed the playoffs by a hair.

So another season ended early in Columbus, but they earned something that they didn’t possess roughly 13 months ago when they shipped Nash to the New York Rangers: Hope.

Offseason Recap

Naturally, the Blue Jackets biggest task this offseason was re-signing Bobrovsky. He was a restricted free agent, so the chances of another team managing to lure him away with an offer sheet weren’t significant, but there was a concern that he would end up bolting to the KHL. Despite that possibility, Columbus managed to get him to agree to a bridge contract worth $11.25 million over two years rather than a long-term deal.

Columbus also splurged on the free agent market, signing forward Nathan Horton to a seven-year, $37 million contract.

Vinny Prospal, 38, led the Blue Jackets with 30 points last season, but he is still an unrestricted free agent. Back in July, GM Jarmo Kekalainen wasn’t sure if he would offer Prospal a new contract.

The Blue Jackets also had three first-round picks going into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft due to the Nash and Jeff Carter trades. They spent them on forwards Alexander Wennberg, Kerby Rychel, and Marko Dano.

Related:

Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

  1. govtminion - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    It really is nice to see this team finally moving in a positive direction instead of just spinning its tires. I’m not sure they’re quite playoff-caliber yet (particularly with the tough division they just moved into), but the progress is obvious- and about time. I’ll be very interested to see where this team goes this season.

  2. bobcat110 - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    They should be a playoff team now they are moving East. They’ve played in league’s toughest division for years versus Blues, Wings, Blackhawks and Predators. The team should thrive on not having to play 90% of their away games in other time zones. They had the 3rd best record in the NHL during the 2nd half of last season, only behind Pittsburgh and Chicago. It’s too bad that time ran out for them on the lock-out shortened season, they may have had a nice playoff run.

  3. blomfeld - Aug 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    BEST WISHES TO THE BLUE JACKETS !

    Though I’ve only ever been to the state of Ohio once (Toledo) I nonetheless know that Columbus is an ‘indigenous’ franchise supported by ‘quality’ fans who can claim an ‘indigenous’ interest in the game. Of course this is in stark contrast to that ‘House of Lies’ down there in the desert (Phoenix Coyotes) which has no business being in the NHL period. Anyway, things are now definitely looking up for the Blue Jackets in my humble opinion. The removal of Rick Nash was a prudent move, as the team became too ‘one dimensional’ under his stewardship. And now with the emergence of Sergei Bobrovsky as a ‘top 5′ NHL goalie, you have to think that ‘happy days’ are just around the corner for this ‘indigenous’ franchise and it’s excellent fans. I therefore wish the Blue Jackets all the best and may God speed their enterprise !

    *** NHL’s Top Goaltenders as per the Sports Desk @ South China Morning Post ***

    1) Jonathan Quick
    2) Cory Schneider
    3) Jonathan Bernier
    4) Sergei Bobrovsky
    5) Ryan Miller

    28) Miikka Kiprusoff
    29) Alexander Ovechkin
    30) Roberto Luongo

    ps: fellow historians will know that up until the Seven Years War, New France included most of North America from the Great Lakes region, down through the Ohio Valley all the way to the Gulf of Mexico … therefore had it not been for General Wolf ‘carrying the day’ at Quebec City in 1759, it’s quite possible that we’d all be conversing here in French ? … et il n’y aurait rien mal avec cela ! :)

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