The Columbus Blue Jackets are an NHL franchise in the Central Division of the Western Conference. They are one of the most recent additions to the NHL, created in 1997, along with Nashville, Atlanta and Minnesota. While Nashville and Atlanta joined the league in 1998 and 1999, respectively, Minnesota and Columbus did not begin play until 2000.
Columbus has struggled since being added to the NHL, and remain the only NHL franchise to never make the playoffs. They have never finished higher than third in their division.
The Blue Jackets lost their first game to Chicago on October 7, 2000. In 2000-01, Columbus won only 28 games, and finished with 71 points. The next year, the team would finish with only 57 points, good enough for the second worst record in the entire league. In 2002-03, the franchise showed signs of promise at first, winning 7 of their first 15 games. Unfortunately, the team would once again finish last in the division.
After the lockout, Columbus continued to struggle, despite picking up some big name talents, like Sergei Fedorov and Adam Foote. Rick Nash had also begun to blossom into a top caliber forward, but the Blue Jackets once again missed the playoffs. The season did provide the team with a respectable finish – 74 points and 3rd place in the Central Division.
2007-08 was Columbus’ best season so far. After hiring proven head coach Ken Hitchcock and replacing Doug MacLean at GM with Scott Howson, the Blue Jackets played +.500 hockey for the entire season, and finished with 80 points. Unfortunately, the Central Division was flush with talent that season, with Detroit, Nashville and Minnesota all earning playoff berths, and Columbus was once again left out of the postseason. While the past seasons may not have been exactly what fans were looking for, the franchise is finally showing signs of improvement. Recent acquisitions such as veterans Michael Peca, Mike Commodore, Fedor Tyutin and RJ Umberger may be what the team needs to make the final push needed to reach the playoffs.
Stanley Cups won: none
Notable Players: Mike Commodore, Sergei Fedorov, Nikita Filatov, Adam Foote, Rick Nash, Darryl Sydor, Ron Tugnutt, RJ Umberger, Ray Whitney