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Fanspeak: Rick Nash voted greatest Blue Jacket in franchise history

Aug 26, 2014, 10:51 PM EDT

Rick Nash Getty Getty Images

This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

Columbus Blue Jackets

1. Rick Nash (545)

2. Sergei Bobrovsky (135)

3. Marian Gaborik (54)

The overwhelming selection of Nash as the franchise’s greatest player is hardly surprising. Columbus had the first overall pick in their third draft (2002) and used it to select Nash. In the decade that followed he was the face of the franchise.

The young franchise didn’t have much success during Nash’s tenure and struggled to find capable linemates for him, but Nash was effective in spite of that, reaching or surpassing the 30-goal milestone in seven of his nine seasons in Columbus.

He is by far the team’s leader in goals scored with 289 (the next highest is R.J. Umberger at 120) and also holds the franchise records for games played, assists, and points.

Nash became the team captain in 2008 and seemingly committed to spending his career with Columbus by agreeing to an eight-year, $62.4 million contract. However, in the second season of that deal he demanded a trade and his request was fulfilled during the summer of 2012. At the time, the future looked bleak for the Blue Jackets, but they rebounded quickly and earned their first playoff win in 2014.

He’ll likely go down as a player that helped give the team an identity early in their history, but it would be good news for the Blue Jackets if a decade from now, Nash wasn’t still running away with the title of the franchise’s greatest player.

Bobrovsky is the team’s new MVP and if he has sustained success in Columbus, then he might surpass Nash in these types of votes. The fact that Gaborik, who is a great player, but had a shaky tenure with Columbus, ranked third speaks to the need for the team’s young forwards to prove themselves. Ryan Johansen certainly took a step in that direction when he scored 33 goals and 63 points last season.

So while Nash is the undisputed winner of this poll, the real question is if that will still be the case if we do it again in 2024.

  1. alicesrightfootesq - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    David Vyborny should be right up there, not Marian Gaborik.

  2. lowenni - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    Haha, Marian Gaborik? Blue jackets fans either have a great sense of humor or thought this poll meant ‘most talented’. Bust of a trade that was, they’d have tremendous depth at center if they still had Derrick Brassard.

    As for Nash, definitely the greatest BJ of all time. Also the most overrated player of the last decade. I think he may have just lost his drive to win after so many bad teams in Columbus.

    • kingsfan93 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:09 AM

      Rich Nash is not an overrated player in the NHL. I’ve seen this guy play a heck of a lot when with Columbus especially. R. Nash being a NY Ranger is what making him look bad due to all the pressure they put on to their star players. It is no wonder there has been ridiculously large amount of players that have not panned out there over the years….must I really have to name those players?

      • calithirteen - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:49 PM

        So what you’re saying is that the NY Rangers put too much pressure on “elite” players to perform at their “elite” status which is why things haven’t panned out? Aside from Nash, Sather had in the past made horrible acquistions for aged and fading stars (Shannahan, Kodalik, etc) who wanted one last big paycheck in the league and a chance to live in Manhattan. Nash however, doesn’t fit this category. Nash’s first season w/ the rangers was so so but again playing under Torts who expected everyone to block shots, Gaborik who was playing w/ a bad shoulder, and Richards who came in so out of shape that he was benched in the playoffs, its any wonder he scored any points that season. This past season was again so so considering the fact that Nash suffered a serious concussion and has since stop driving hard to the net. Pressure has nothing to do with it and this is a make it or brake it season for Nash. Either he plays at the level he is capable of or his career is a bust because of the concussions which you can’t blame him for. I’m hoping for the former!

    • jady41 - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      Uh exactly. I’ve been a CBJ fan since day 1 and I don’t seem to remember seeing this poll anywhere! I think they polled people on the street of NY or LA because nobody in this town would say Gaborik.

      As for Nash, I agree that he is overrated. He is infamous for only playing hard around the Olympics or trade deadline. In my own opinion, he wins greatest CBJ only because he was the most recognizable and because we have had so many dismal seasons till now that there’s no one else to challenge.

      Just wait, either Dubi, Murray or Wennberg will be atop the list very soon.

  3. evanpht - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    I know Columbus doesn’t exactly have a rich history, but there is no way a guy who played with the team for 30 games is the third best player in the franchise history

    • jady41 - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:04 PM

      Exactly. Leads me to believe this poll is highly invalid

  4. rushledger - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    Jack Johnson should be up there he was the starting point of their turnaround.

    • imleftcoast - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      Why do the soundtrack to Curious George movie? Stick with that fake Hawaiian crap. People loved Banana Pancakes, and a grown man in a yellow hat playing with his monkey is disturbing.

  5. 19to77 - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:56 AM

    Man, I’d take Johansen at third over friggin’ Gaborik. At least he’s put in one full season of good hockey. That’s a lot more than Gaborik did in a Jackets jersey.

  6. kingsfan93 - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:59 AM

    Taking nothing away from what Rick Nash meant to Columbus BlueJackets.

    But knowing that Columbus hasn’t been around a long time would be the reason being why they had no choice but to choose Rick Nash.

    Give this team 20 plus years down the road for what then can be a little bit more relevant as for “who is the greatest BlueJacket in franchise history.” Because maybe then there will be more of a selection for who has played on Columbus for a good period of time being.

  7. jacketsfan7 - Aug 27, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    Vyborny should be there
    Not Gaborik, and Nash shouldn’t be there either because he never did anything for us
    Bob took us to the playoff and won two games

    • jacketbacker78 - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      You are nuts if you think Nash shouldn’t be there. He has been the franchise’s best player to put on a uniform. That will most likely change over the next few years, but until then it’s Nash, no questions asked

    • jady41 - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      Totally agree about Vyborny. Imagine how incredible of numbers he could have put up had he had the players surrounding him!? (Thanks McClain, you schmuck)

      I think the pollsters polled either NEW CBJ fans or people who live in NY or LA. I played more floor hockey games in PE class than Gabby did in a CBJ uniform. No way he should be on this list.

      Don’t forget about Tyler Wright, Ray Whitney or Geoff Sanderson…they may not put up crazy numbers, but they embodied what Columbus is about; grit, hustle and never say die play.

  8. royalvoyager - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Something tells me we’ll see Dubinsky up there after a few more seasons

  9. zinger99 - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    Columbus…pfft. Who caaaaares! Because if you have a league,you absolutely,positively must have a franchise in Columbus! That organization is nothing but a drag on this league and they’re not the only ones either.San Jose,Anaheim,Arizona,Dallas,
    Nashville,Tampa,Florida and Carolina are the others. All those teams are noodles and corn. No nutritional value,strictly filler.

    • govtminion - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      I didn’t know you posted here, but while you’re around… where DO you get all those crazy suits at, Mr. Cherry?

  10. clpalermo94 - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    Nash is so overrated its unbelievable. He should have stayed in clb because he has been awful for the rangers.

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