Welcome to Last Word on Hockey’s One Hit Wonder series. Each day, we will take a look at a new team’s three biggest one-hit wonders. These are players that had one great season or playoff run but never did anything like that again. Join us every day for a new team! Today we take a look at the Columbus Blue Jackets One-Hit Wonders.
The Columbus Blue Jackets Top Three One-Hit Wonders
Up first on the list for the Columbus Blue Jackets One Hit Wonders is Steve Mason. Mason was drafted in the third round, 69th overall by the Blue Jackets in 2006 NHL Entry Draft. While he started 2007-08 with the big club, he was returned to his junior club the London Knights. He was the starting goalie for Team Canada at the 2008 World Junior Championships and led them to a fourth straight gold medal at the time. During the tournament, Mason was traded from the Knights to the Kitchener Rangers right before the semi-final game.
After returning from the World Juniors, Mason went back up to the Blue Jackets to fill in as an emergency goalie, however, his services were not needed. Once back in junior, Mason suffered a knee injury during the regular season. He played through it for several weeks, before he was pulled from the lineup after the first round of the OHL Playoffs. Mason underwent arthroscopic knee surgery missing the remainders of the OHL Playoffs and the 2008 Memorial Cup. His team went on to win the OHL Championship but fell in the Memorial Cup without him.
One Hit Season
Mason’s best season came during the 2008-09 season with the Blue Jackets, however, things did not start that great. He needed another knee surgery and missed the first month of the season with the Blue Jackets AHL Affiliate. However, once he got back on track, and Pascal Leclaire suffered an injury, Mason was called up in November 2008. From there Mason took the world by storm. He got his first victory in his NHL debut and a few nights later picked up his first career NHL Shutout.
Even with Leclaire back from injury, Mason continued to start. He was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for November after posting a 5-2-1 record that included three straight wins and two shutouts. Things continued to go well being named Rookie of the Month again for December as he posted three straight shutouts with a record of 7-5, 1.41 goals-against average and .950 save percentage. Mason finished the season with 33-20-7 recording posting a 2.29 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year. In addition, he was nominated for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender. However, that magic did not carry over to the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs as Columbus lost to the Detroit Red Wings in four games.
After The Wonder
After his rookie season, things went downhill for Mason. Over the next three seasons with the Blue Jackets, Mason was unable to duplicate the play from his rookie season. The Blue Jackets did not make another playoff appearance with Mason on the team. Mason was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for goaltender Michael Leighton and a 2015 third-round pick in April of 2013. He played well earning himself a new contract and speculation that he would replace Ilya Bryzgalov in Philadelphia. With Bryzgalov bought out took over the starter’s role as the team brought in Ray Emery. For his play, Mason received a three-year deal in 2014 worth $12.3 million with an annual average value of $4.1 million.
While Mason was able to get similar numbers in the 2013-14 season to his rookie season with the Flyers, Mason split time in the playoffs. He started only four games and playing in five as the Flyers lost in seven games to the New York Rangers.
After finishing up with the Flyers, Mason signed a two-year contract with the Winnipeg Jets. However, Mason did not see much playing time that season with the emergence of Connor Hellebuyck. After the season was over he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens put him on waivers in order to buy out his contract.
James Wisniewski was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fifth round, 156th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Wisniewski played junior hockey with the Plymouth Whalers. During the 2003-04 season, Wisniewski scored 17 goals, 11 on the power-play. He finished 24th overall in scoring with 70 points, third amongst defenceman. He won the OHL’s 2004 award for the most outstanding defenceman.
Wisniewski made his way to the NHL during the 2006-07 season. He was able to stick with the team and in the NHL. He was having a good rookie campaign before tearing his ACL in March 2007 missing the rest of the season. The following season he played in 68 games before getting traded to the Anaheim Ducks. Before getting to Columbus, Wisniewski had a couple of more stops with the Canadiens and New York Islanders. In the summer of 2011, the Blue Jackets acquired his rights and he signed a six-year deal with the team.
One Hit Season
Injuries plagued for much of his time in Columbus, but his best season came during the 2013-14 season. That year with the Blue Jackets, Wisniewski recorded a career-high 51 points (seven goals and 44 assists). The 44 assists were also a career-high. He was able to do all of this because he remained healthy playing in 75 games for the Blue Jackets that season. Wisniewski finished tied for ninth with Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues in points amongst NHL defenceman. Wisniewski was the backbone of the Blue Jackets defence as the team went back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Blue Jackets fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six tightly contested games. Wisniewski finished with two points in six games.
After The Wonder
After that season Wisniewski could never repeat that output for the Blue Jackets. During the 2014-15 season, he was traded back to the Ducks. Once the season was over, the Ducks traded him to the Carolina Hurricanes. Injuries continued to haunt Wisniewski as he tore his ACL in his left knee during his Hurricanes debut. That shift would prove to be his last in the NHL. As he was returning back to full health, the Hurricanes bought him out of his contract. The Tampa Bay Lightning signed Wisniewski to a professional tryout agreement. However, right before the season, the Lightning released him from his contract.
Wisniewski made his way overseas signing with Admiral Vladivostok of the KHL for the 2016-17 season. However, after 16 games, he parted with the club. Wisniewski made his way to Switzerland and joined HC Lugano for the Spengler Cup. He helped his team reach the final and was named to the tournament all-star team. While Wisniewski signed a 25-game professional contract with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, the Blues affiliate at the time, but decided to go back to Europe. He signed with Kassel Huskies of the German DEL2 side.
Alexander Wennberg was drafted in the first round, 14th overall by the Blue Jackets in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He was ranked fifth out of all 2013 NHL Draft eligible European skaters. He played with Djurgardens IF under-18 team scoring 11 goals and 23 assists. The next season he moved up to the organization’s U-20 team. He represented Sweden at the 2011 U19 World Junior A Challenge and 2012 U18 World Junior Championship tournaments. Wennberg signed his three-year entry-level contract with Columbus in May of 2014.
Wennberg made his NHL in the 2014-15 season. He played in 68 games in the first two seasons in the league, but his break out season came in his third season in the league.
One Hit Season
Wennberg’s best season came during the 2016-17 season where he set career highs in goals, assists, and points. He played in 80 regular season games recording 59 points (13 goals and 46 assists). That season Wennberg was second in the team in scoring only behind Cam Atkinson who had 62 points. Wennberg was a vital piece to the Blue Jackets making the playoffs in 2017. The Blue Jackets ran into the powerhouse named the Penguins in the first round. In the five-game series, Wennberg only recorded one assist. For his efforts that season, the Blue Jackets signed Wennberg to a six-year contract worth $29.4 million that carried an annual salary-cap hit of $4.9 million.
After The Wonder
However, the following seasons brought disappointment. Wennberg did not come close to repeating that success of the 2016-17 season. The best Wennberg did points wise was 35 points in 2017-18. That season he recorded eight goals. The Blue Jackets made the playoffs again. Unfortunately for Wennberg, during that series, he was injured by Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals from a hit from behind. Even though he returned in the series and was able to produce points, he was never the same player. His numbers continue to be on the decline. Wennberg is no longer a factor offensively anymore for the Blue Jackets.
That does it for the Columbus Blue Jackets One Hit Wonders, stay tuned for the Dallas Stars One Hit Wonders.
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