The Franchise Four. The Mount Rushmore. Four players who tell the story of an organization. In this series I’ll be taking a look at the history of all 30 NHL squads. For criteria, I’m choosing one forward, defenceman, goaltender and a wild card from any position.
Since entering the league in 2000-01, the Columbus Blue Jackets have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs twice across 14 seasons.
During said time frame, the Jackets have iced the likes of Rick Nash, Sergei Bobrovsky, Fedor Tyutin, Ryan Johansen, R.J. Umberger, David Vybrony, Geoff Sanderson, Nikolai Zheredev, Derick Brassard, Antione Vermette, Rostislav Klesla, Marc Denis and Steve Mason.
So, which players make their “Franchise Four?”
4. The Wild Card – Ryan Johansen (C)
With this selection I’m going somewhat on the premise Johansen will continue to mature into the face of the new wave of Blue Jackets hockey. Plus, given the other choices available, one could argue we’re splitting hairs. In only two plus seasons, Johansen already ranks sixth in goals (73), tenth in assists (94), eighth in points (167), sixth in goals created (64.5) and fourth in even strength goals (54). Johansen already has a 30-goal campaign under his belt, netting 33 during the 2013-14 campaign. It was also in the aforementioned season when Johansen registered six points across six postseason contests.
3. The Defenseman – Fedor Tyutin
Since his trade from the New York Rangers in 2008, Tyutin has been a mainstay on the Blue Jackets blue line. In franchise history, Tyutin ranks fourth in games played (492), third in assists (144), fourth in points (182), eighth in penalty minutes (323) and second for total goals on-ice for (490). Tyutin tops all Columbus player with a 22.6 defensive point share.
2. The Goalie – Sergei Bobrovsky
This choice is fairly obvious. Bobrovsky ranks first in franchise history in save percentage (.923) and goals against average (2.39), plus he’s third in wins (83) and shutouts (eleven). During the 2012-13 campaign, Bobrovsky garnered the Vezina Trophy and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team. In 2013-14, Bobrovsky guided the Blue Jackets to their only two postseason victories.
1. The Forward – Rick Nash
As clear-cut at it gets, Nash takes the top spot. In Blue Jackets club history, Nash ranks first in games (674), goals (289), assists (258), points (547), power play goals (83), short-handed goals (14) and game winning goals (44). A five-time All-Star with Columbus, Nash earned the Maurice Richard Trophy in 2003-04, leading the league with 41 goals. Nash posted two seasons of 40 or more goals and seven netting 30 or more. Nash’s 53.8 point share towers over any other player in club history.
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.