The Most Explosive Goal Scorer in Blue Jackets’ History

For a relatively young franchise, the Columbus Blue Jackets have a rich history. Their roster is rife with talent and they’ve had no shortage of young scorers donning the blue. But who is the most explosive goal scorer in franchise history? How do you even begin to measure such an intangible quality, such as explosiveness in goal scoring? Well, there is one conveniently succinct measurement of explosive goal-scoring, when it comes to the Jackets.

Gunpowder—or, rather, black powder.

In 2007, the franchise introduced the now-iconic Blue Jackets Goal Cannon. A product of the late Chris Olsen, an incredibly passionate craftsman from Illinois, the 1857 Napoleon cannon fires every time the Blue Jackets score a goal at home. As it turns out, this particular cannon utilizes approximately 8 ounces of black gunpowder every time it’s discharged outdoors. Perhaps we give-or-take half an ounce for firing inside an arena, but, either way, we’ve found ourselves a formula for determining the most explosive goal scorer in Blue Jackets’ history*.

*since 2007

So without further ado, I give you your top ten, Blue-Jacket faithful.

10. Antoine Vermette – 13.5 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 121
  • home goals: 27
  • bp/gp (blackpowder per game played): 0.22 lbs per game

Antoine Vermette, Stanley Cup champion, entered the league the same year the Blue Jackets did, in 2000. He was drafted 55th overall by the Ottawa Senators and has amassed 471 points in 910 regular season games since then. His career-best season was 2009-2010 with the Jackets, posting 65 points. He’s responsible for discharging 13.5 lbs of black powder in his four-season tenure with the club.

9. Scott Hartnell – 13.5 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 75
  • gome goals: 27
  • bp/gp: 0.36 lbs per game

34-year-old Scott Hartnell is a terrific goal-scorer, scoring 30+ goals twice over the course of his career. Many were shocked to see him dealt from his beloved Flyers in 2014, where he scored a career high 37 goals in 2011-2012. He quickly became a consistent threat in Columbus’ top six and has 27 home goals to show for it. In just two seasons at Nationwide Arena, Hartnell is also responsible for 13.5 lbs of gunpowder being discharged. 

8. Derick Brassard – 14 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 158
  • home goals: 28
  • bp/gp: 0.18 lbs per game

Drafted 6th overall by Columbus in the 2006 NHL entry draft, Brassard scored his share of goals for the club before getting moved to the Rangers (remember the Marion Gaborik trade?). He’s blossomed into a clutch goal scorer and first-line centerman for New York, but as a Jacket he was good for 14 lbs of gunpowder.

7. Boone Jenner – 14.5 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 93
  • home goals scored: 29
  • bp/gp: 0.31 lbs per game

Boone Jenner is a 22-year-old who has the makings of a future captain. Currently wearing an ‘A’, he’s coming off the first 30-goal season of his career and will continue to be a big part of the franchise moving forward. In three seasons in the big league, he’s put up 55 goals, 29 of which have come at home, equalling 14.5 lbs of gunpowder. Something tells me there’s plenty more where that came from for the young goal scorer.

6. Kristian Huselius – 15 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 94
  • home goals scored: 30
  • bp/gp: 0.31 lbs per game

Drafted by the Panthers in ‘97, Huselius spent time in both the Sunshine State and Calgary before landing in Columbus to wrap up his career. A fantastic complementary player, Huselius had his best seasons suiting up alongside the likes of Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash. Known for dishing the puck more so than his goal-scoring abilities, he could evidently put it in the net too. He’s credited with 15 lbs of gunpowder in Nationwide Arena.

5. Nick Foligno – 19 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 135
  • home goals scored: 38
  • bp/gp: 0.28 lbs per game

The Captain has a nose for the net. In 135 games at Nationwide he’s put up 38 goals—not to mention the leadership intangibles he brings to the table. He had a down year this past season—registering only 37 points, but, similar to new-Captain Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens, this may have a lot to do with losses weighing more heavily on a team’s leader. Expect both captains and their teams to bounce back next year. In his tenure with the Jackets so far, Foligno has used up 19 lbs of gunpowder.

4. Ryan Johansen – 20.4 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 156
  • home goals scored: 42
  • bp/gp: 0.28 lbs per game

The mega-trade that sent Ryan Johansen to Nashville still feels fresh. Through ups and downs, coaching changes and contract squabbles, it remains irrefutable that Johansen is a special hockey player and goal scorer—drafted 4th overall in 2010—he won’t be adding to his gunpowder stats anytime soon. His legacy? ‘The player who gave us Seth Jones’. The trade will be continually dissected and analyzed as both players mature, but Johansen should always be appreciated for his accomplishments while in Columbus.

3. Cam Atkinson – 24.5 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 149
  • home goals scored: 49
  • bp/gp: 0.32 lbs per game

Already solidified as a dynamic top-six player, pundits believe Cam Atkinson may be on the precipice of taking another step in his production and development. The speedy right winger put up consecutive 40 point seasons before posting 27 goals and 53 points in the 2015-2016 campaign. Only 26-years old, he’s been the catalyst behind 24.5 lbs of gunpowder at Nationwide Arena. Drafted in the 6th round, 157th overall in 2008 and accounting for $3.5 M against Columbus’ cap, Atkinson should continue to provide plenty of bang-for-his-buck next year.

2. R.J. Umberger – 30.5 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 122
  • home goals scored: 61
  • bp/gp: 0.50 lbs per game

The 34-year-old spent six seasons with Columbus, posting some of the most productive campaigns of his career, scoring 55 and 57 points 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 respectively. Despite his goal scoring prowess at home in Ohio, his numbers have dwindled as of late—posting only 26 points in two seasons with the Flyers since the Hartnell trade. Recent performance aside, RJ has the distinction of being the second-most explosive goal scorer in Columbus Blue Jackets’ history, good for 30.5 lbs of gunpowder.

1. Rick Nash – 45 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 194
  • home goals scored: 90
  • bp/gp: 0.46 lbs per game

The much-maligned power forward has had up-and-down years, scored magnificently memorable goals, and represents one of the largest, boldest trades made by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He led the team to the playoffs for the first time in 2008-2009 and, despite being swept by the Red Wings, Nash had a great regular season to get the Jackets in—putting up 40 goals and 39 assists to ensure playoff hockey arrived in Ohio. Love him or hate him (or hold an enthusiastic indifference), he’s a gifted goal scorer who has amassed 40+ goals as a Jacket twice and rightly earned the title of the most explosive goal scorer in Columbus Blue Jackets’ history.

BONUS: Brandon Saad – 9 lbs of gunpowder

  • home games played: 39
  • home goals scored: 18
  • bp/gp: 0.46 lbs per game

If you’re concerned that this list is littered with players who have taken their explosive talents elsewhere—fear not. Brandon Saad has spent but one season with the club and has put the light to the cannon at the exact same pace as number #1 on the list, former captain, Rick Nash. Pro-rate that over a long-term extension and you’re looking at the future Brandon ‘The Cannon’ Saad, the soon-to-be most explosive goal scorer in Columbus Blue Jacket’s history.

The future is bright (and loud) at Nationwide Arena.