What a year 2014 was for the Columbus Blue Jackets. After suffering through many continuous years of losing seasons, the Blue Jackets put together arguably their best season in franchise history. It saw the team make the playoffs for only the 2nd time ever.
In a year full of great and memorable moments, we are going to count down the Top 5 moments of calendar year 2014 for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Because there were many moments for the Blue Jackets, we will also include a 6th moment, an honorable mention. So without further ado, let’s begin our countdown with our honorable mention.
Blue Jackets Draft Sonny Milano
The 2014 draft was an unusual one for the Blue Jackets. Most years, the team is making their 1st Round selection well within the Top 10. Not at this draft. Because they made the playoffs, the Blue Jackets found themselves picking in the middle of the 1st Round, at selection 16. With that pick, the Blue Jackets selected top prospect Sonny Milano. Milano was on the US Hockey National Development Team. He was also the property of the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. However, Milano committed to playing for Boston College. Thus, Milano Watch began. Finally on August 16, 2014, after taking time to consider his options, Milano informed Boston College of his intention to sign a professional contract with the Blue Jackets. This would forfeit his college eligibility. This opened the door for Milano to play in Junior Hockey, with the Plymouth Whalers. He is currently playing for Team USA in the 2015 World Junior Championships. And who could forget his sticks tricks video?
5: Rick Nash and Matt Calvert Fight At Nationwide Arena
As if a matchup between the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets needed anymore steam, this particular game had that steam and then some. Rick Nash was back at Nationwide Arena. He subsequently paid a visit to the Blue Jackets crease and said hi to Sergei Bobrovsky. Then, of all things, all 5’11” of Matt Calvert found himself in a fight with the former face of the franchise Nash. It made for one memorable night.
4: Ryan Johansen And His New Contract
It took the entire summer and then some, but finally, Ryan Johansen agreed to a new 3 year/$12 million contract. Due to the length of the negotiations, Johansen missed training camp. Fans were very concerned about how the season would begin, given the injuries up and down the roster. So what was the good moment? Johansen hardly missed a step. He jumped right into the lineup on opening night, and has produced almost a point a game to start this season. He along with Nick Foligno are major reasons why the Blue Jackets were able to keep afloat while recovering from a slew of injuries.
3: Brandon Dubinsky Signs Long Term Extension
The playoffs seem to bring out the best in a player. This certainly was the case for Brandon Dubinsky. All he did in the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins was shut down arguably the best player in the world for 6 games. His reward? A brand new long-term contract. In July, Dubinsky signed a 6 year deal, worth $35.1 million. The new season didn’t start according to plan due to injury. But, he has since returned, and has brought a renewed energy to the locker room that was dearly missed. It’s no wonder the team has turned the season around.
2: Scott Hartnell/RJ Umberger Trade
Talk about stories that come out of nowhere. It was well documented that RJ Umberger wanted out of Columbus. A trade was certainly a possibility. What wasn’t expected was who was involved. The Blue Jackets sent RJ Umberger back to his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers. In return, the Blue Jackets got Scott Hartnell. Wait, what? This was a shocking move given that Hartnell just signed a long-term extension the year before. Hartnell was a big hit upon arrival. Who could forget “little turds”?
1: The Penguins Playoff Series
We definitely saved the best for last here. Who could forget that playoff series between the Blue Jackets and Penguins? Although the Blue Jackets eventually fell in 6 games. Along the way, franchise history was made. There were 3 specific moments that will be etched in the minds of Blue Jackets fans forever. They will always remember where they were when these moments happened. They will give you goose bumps every time you watch. First up was Matt Calvert. His OT goal in Game 2 was the 1st playoff win in Blue Jackets history.
Next up was Brandon Dubinsky. And everyone thought Game 4 was over. Think again.
And of course, if you tie it, you must win it. Nick Foligno does just that, sending the Blue Jackets to their 1st ever home playoff win.
What an amazing year 2014 was. The Blue Jackets hope that 2015 is a year that brings more memorable moments. The best is certainly yet to come for this franchise.