The 2018-19 version of the Columbus Blue Jackets was easily the most successful team we ever had in Central Ohio. At least, from a playoff perspective. They had a pretty good regular season too, on the back of a superstar.
#4: Artemi Panarin resets the record in 2018-19…
The season that led to a #8 playoff seed had plenty of ups and downs, but it was historic in that the franchise record for points in a single season was set by Artemi Panarin. In 79 games played, Panarin scored 28 goals and a still franchise-best 59 assists for 87 points, helping lead the team into the playoffs and an eventual sweep of the President’s Trophy winning Tampa Bay Lighting.
His second season in Columbus saw Panarin dishing out dimes to everyone on the team, leading to him being on the ice for a whopping 114 Blue Jacket goals. The Jackets finished the season with 47 wins and 98 points on the back of their superstar winger; who also helped Cam Atkinson tie a franchise record with 41 goals.
Unfortunately, the lack of two car garages in Columbus led to Panarin leaving the team after just two seasons; removing a key component from what could have been a special Blue Jacket team for many years to come. Still, we can’t overlook the fact that he holds down both the #1 and #2 (more on that later) most productive seasons in CBJ history.
#3: Johnny Hockey’s arrival in Columbus…
While Panarin leaving Columbus left us with a sour taste in our mouths, in just a few years we wound up landing another elite player in free agency. And we like him more anyways. Johnny Gaudreau signing a 7-year deal and choosing Columbus over any other destination, immediately endeared him to the hearts of Blue Jacket faithful – while simultaneously shocking the hockey world.
Gaudreau joined the Jackets as they neared the low point in their rebuild. But his signing brought hope, and had many turning their expectations towards a CBJ playoff run. Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be last season as the Jackets suffered through injury after key injury. Coupled with a lack of structure and discipline, the team finished second to last in the entire league.
We cannot overlook how special Johnny Hockey’s first season in Columbus was, however. His 74 points were 5th most in club history – and he led the team by a full 22, ahead of Patrik Laine’s 52 point injury-shortened season. He had 53 assists, which are fourth-most in Blue Jacket history, while playing with a variety of linemates and through plenty of question marks all season.
While he wasn’t able to push this team into the playoffs in his first year; quietly, Johnny Gaudreau had one of the most productive offensive seasons in franchise history, with almost no help. I cannot wait to see what he can do with some real support, hopefully this season.