The Starting Six series comes to you to dive into the best player at each position all-time for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments in franchise history. Here is the Columbus Blue Jackets all-time lineup.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are going into their 18th season, something which makes this list little tricky. Who is the Columbus Blue Jackets all-time lineup? With such a small sample size to choose from this makes some choices easy, like Rick Nash. The sample size also makes for some debates for players like Cam Atkinson or David Vyborny.
Starting Six: Columbus Blue Jackets All-Time Lineup
Left Wing: Rick Nash (2002-12)
The 2002 first overall pick is probably the easiest decision to make the Columbus Blue Jackets all-time lineup. Blue Jackets fans love to boo Nash when he comes to Nationwide Arena. Even though it is fun to boo him, Nash gave his best years of his career to the franchise. Blue Jackets fans, for the most part, respect Nash for what he gave the to the fans and organization.
Nash is the Blue Jackets all-time statistical leader in over 20 of the categories listed on Hockey-Reference.com. This includes games played (674), goals (289), assists (258), and points (547). Nash has a 168 goal lead over second place Cam Atkinson (121) and is the only player to have over 400 points in franchise history. He was an All-Star five times with the Columbus Blue Jackets before being traded to the New York Rangers in 2012. Nash can be the first player in Blue Jackets history to be put into the Hockey Hall of Fame due to what he did in Columbus.
Centre: Ryan Johansen (2010-16)
Johansen is one of the most talented players to ever walk through the door of Nationwide Arena. Johansen only played in Columbus for four and a half seasons before being traded to Nashville. In that small amount of time Johansen ranks seventh in franchise history in goals (79), assists (114), and points (193).
The fourth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft first two seasons started out slow, scoring 33 points in 107 games. Johansen’s next two seasons were something spectacular with 134 points in 164 games. Johansen put up a .82 points-per-game those two seasons, quickly moving him up the Blue Jackets all-time list.
Right Wing: Cam Atkinson (2011-Current)
This was a tough decision to make between Cam Atkinson and David Vyborny. Vyborny is just ahead of Atkinson in a lot of statistics. However, Atkinson has almost surpassed Vyborny in said statistical categores and has played in 161 fewer games.
Atkinson is your typical “underdog” story, drafted in the sixth round by Columbus in 2008. Atkinson joined the team full-time in 2013 and has had 40-plus points every season since. This past season Atkinson set career highs goals (35), assists (27), and points (62). Atkinson was also named to the All-Star team this past season and was up for the All-Star game MVP. While only being seventh on the franchise list in games played (382) Atkinson is second in goals (121). Atkinson is also tenth in assists (106) and fourth in points (227).
Left Handed Defensemen: Jack Johnson (2011-Current)
Jack Johnson has spent the last six years in Columbus and has been excellent for the organization. Playing in 368 games with Columbus is good enough to put him ninth on the franchise all-time in games played. Johnson came to Columbus from the Los Angeles Kings as part of the Jeff Carter trade. After a rough first two years with the Blue Jackets, Johnson earned his spot on this list.
In the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons Johnson scored 33 and 44 points respectively. Johnson is ninth on the franchise all-time assist leaders (110). Even when Johnson didn’t have the best offensive season he almost always showed great defensive play. Johnson has been one of the leaders on a young defense the past couple years for the Columbus. Johnson has also been a huge part of the Blue Jackets penalty kill unit since arriving from Los Angeles.
Right Handed Defensemen: David Savard (2011-Current)
Much like Johnson, David Savard has spent the last six seasons in Columbus and has turned into a top four defensemen. Drafted in the fourth round in 2009 it took time for Savard to develop. His first season was in 2011-12 when Savard only played in 31 games and had 10 points. Savard only played in four games the next season.
Savard is going into his fifth consecutive season as a full-time player. A reliable two-way defenseman Savard, scored 20-plus points in each of the last three seasons. On the defense Savard has been excellent as well, regardless of who he has been paired with. Savard is strong in the stat lines, defensively, and all relative analytics point to his effectiveness during his time in Columbus.
Goalie: Sergei Bobrovsky (2012-Current)
With no disrespect to Steve Mason, choosing Sergei Bobrovsky was an easy choice. While Mason had a great rookie year, Bobrovsky has been more consistent and a better goalie overall. The Blue Jackets acquired Bobrovsky in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012. Bobrovsky has been the backbone of the Blue Jackets since then.
Coming off his second Vezina Trophy, Bobrovsky is the only current player to win the award twice. The voting for this years Vezina was not even close.
Bobrovsky leads the Blue Jackets franchise in wins with 139, the next closest is Mason with 93. His 2.36 goals-against-average, .923 save percentage, and 19 shutouts are all franchises records as well. Bobrovksy leads all these categories and is only 28-years-old. At this rate, Bobrovsky is a lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
via Last Word on Hockey, by Andrew Allison