NHL Playoff outcomes showing us just how far away the Columbus Blue Jackets are from competing

The first round of the NHL Playoffs is nearing completion, with three of the four Eastern Conference series decided. How far away were the Blue Jackets this year? Lets look at their performance against the teams who have been eliminated.
Apr 4, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) skates with the
Apr 4, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) skates with the / Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Three of the four Eastern Conference first round series have wrapped up in the NHL playoffs. Less than two weeks in, gone are the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Islanders.

When we talk about how far away the Blue Jackets are from contention, it's hard not to wonder how they stacked up against teams that made the playoffs this season.

Those three teams were the three lowest seeds in the Eastern Conference playoff race. In fact, they were the only three teams in the East to make the playoffs with fewer than 100 points.

Their combined playoff record: 2-12. This tells us that while each of them were good enough to squeak into the postseason - none of them were really contenders.

Granted, the teams they ran into (the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes) are all legit Stanley Cup contenders. But still, in a league full of parity, you would expect these series to be somewhat competitive. They really were not.

The Capitals were outscored 15-7 by the Rangers in a 4-game sweep. The Panthers outscored the Lightning 20-14; and the Hurricanes outscored the Islanders 19-12 in their respective 5-game series.

Only 5 games out of all three series (14 games total) were decided by one goal. The teams at the top of the conference handled business, swiftly.

So, how did the Jackets perform against the three lowest seeds in the Eastern Conference? Not flatteringly, I'm afraid to admit.

They played three games apiece against Washington, the Islanders, and Tampa Bay this regular season. Their combined record in those 9 games was 1-7-1.

The Jackets were outscored 33-19 in those games, where they picked up just 3 points in the standings.

It goes without saying that, if you're going to compete for a playoff spot; you have to fare well against the other teams competing for that playoff spot. The Jackets didn't do that this year. They weren't even close.

But, looking on the more positive side of things (glass half full perspective?): would this have really been the year to squeak into the playoffs as a #8 seed? Or, were the Jackets better off being terrible again, and landing another high draft pick?

Sure, the gate revenue of two home playoff games is hard to pass up. There would have been a lot of excitement in Columbus, no doubt. But, did we really see this team as competing with Florida, or NY Rangers, or Carolina Hurricanes this season? Hardly.

So, in the end, maybe things happen for a reason. Hopefully the Jackets can add another young stud to their prospect stable, who can help when this team is really on the upswing.