As the 2010s come to a close and we enter into the roaring 20s, the staff here at The Cannon has been reflecting on the past decade of hockey in Columbus. There have been some good times, some horrifying times, and a glorious first round sweep. All of our chats had us talking about our favorite players to wear the Columbus Blue Jackets sweater during the 2010s.
After our walk down memory lane, we decided to put together our choices for a Columbus Blue Jackets All-Decade Team.
I’ll kick it off first.
Artemi Panarin - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Fedor Tyutin - David Savard
For me, Panarin and Bobrovsky are no brainers to make the All-Decade squad. Bobrovsky was in Columbus for seven years during the 2010s. The fact Bobrovsky won two Vezinas wipes away his paltry win record in the playoffs. There were times over his seven seasons with the Jackets that Bobrovsky carried the Jackets on his back.
From the moment Panarin stepped foot on the team, he was a game changer. He brought something new and fun to the Jackets. Plus, Panarin was able to help unearth the prolific scorer in Atkinson.
When it came to Center, I went back and forth for hours over whether it should be Ryan Johansen or Brandon Dubinsky. My choice was made solely o the fact one left a hole on the team more than the other. Without Dubinsky this season, the Jackets have struggled on faceoffs. Especially, ones that take place in the defensive zone. Winning d-zone faceoffs allowed the defense to breathe a little knowing momentum was in the Jackets favor. Also, Dubinsky is a known agitator. He knows how to throw Ovechkin and Crosby off of their game. Dubinsky’s hothead got the Jackets into some precarious situations but those moments seemed to rally the team to remove their heads from their butts.
A few seasons ago, Savard was asked to step up his game, learn to skate, and protect the net. He has risen to the challenge and can be seen throwing his body in front of pucks while his netminder is roaming behind the net. Savard may not be able to put points on the board but he sure knows how to keep the opponent from putting up points.
My thoughts on Tyutin are the exact same as Ryan Real’s thoughts. Tyutin was Mr. Reliable while with the Jackets. For the longest time, he was the only defender you could trust to not be out of position. Plus, he had a knack for being able to get a playing rolling all the way in the d-zone.
Artemi Panarin - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Rick Nash
Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Bob McElligott at the end of G4 2019 QF vs TBL
TWO WORDS FOR YOU: SERIES SWEEP!
Matt Calvert- Pierre Luc Dubois - Artemi Panarin
Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Artemi Panarin - Ryan Johansen - Brandon Saad
Those are the best forwards to play in Columbus based on ability and skill. Call them the anti-Torts line. Too bad it was not possible to actually have them at one time.
Jones - Werenski
The only acceptable pairing on defense. Any writer who chooses differently is simply wrong.
Best Blue Jacket in franchise history.
Jody Shelley for most improved analyst in the booth.
LW: Artemi Panarin
C: Ryan Johansen
RW: Cam Atkinson
D: Seth Jones
D: Fedor Tyutin
G: Sergei Bobrovsky
Pretty standard stuff here. Artemi Panarin is the best skater to ever wear Union Blue and deserves a spot despite only being here for 20 percent of the decade. Ryan Johansen makes the spot because it’s my list and he built a CBJ basketball court because he’d never get traded. Also, he was very good and made the pass to Brandon Dubinsky in Game 4 against the Penguins. Cam Atkinson is obvious, as is Seth Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky. Fedor Tyutin might be the only head scratcher on the list, but c’mon. He guided the defense into the 2010s and served as Ol’ Reliable back there for a very long time.
Forwards: Artemi Panarin, Ryan Johansen, Cam Atkinson
Artemi Panarin, despite playing just two seasons in Columbus after his trade, put up statistically the two best seasons any skater has ever had in Columbus. Panarin registered 169 points in 160 regular season games (55-114-169) and scored 13 game winning goals. Ryan Johansen is the best center to ever play for the Blue Jackets. During his five year tenure with the team, he posted 79-114-193 in 309 games played. Johansen scored ten game winners for the club. In 2014, he was named an NHL first star of the week and was named to the 2015 All Star Game. His best season for Columbus saw him post 26-45-71 in 82 games played. Cam Atkinson has played the second most games in a Blue Jackets sweater behind Rick Nash. After his debut in 2011, Atkinson has posted 195-168-363 in 562 games played. Atkinson has been an All Star twice, in 2017 and 2019 and has scored six hat tricks in his Blue Jackets career. Atkinson is currently on track to become the first Jacket to retire here after being drafted by the club while playing his entire career for the team.
Defensemen: Seth Jones, Zach Werenski
Seth Jones is the best defenseman in team history. Acquired for Ryan Johansen on January 6, 2016, Jones has developed from third pairing player on a stacked Nashville team into a bona fide number one defenseman and perennial Norris Trophy candidate. In his five years in Columbus, Jones has posted 43-144-187 in 306 games while playing an astounding 24:40 per night against the toughest defensive assignments a player can draw. Jones has been selected to two All Star Games (in 2017 and 2019), was named to the NHL postseason All Star second team in 2017-18, and finished fourth in the Norris Trophy voting in 2017-18 and ninth in 2018-19. His defensive partner, selected 8th overall in the 2015 draft, has developed into a top pairing defenseman in his own right. With 148 points in his 267 games (46-102-148), Werenski has developed into one of the better offensive defensemen in the league. He has shown a toughness and willingness to play through injury for the good of the club (see: him coming back into a playoff game with a fractured orbital bone, and playing his entire second season with a torn shoulder). Werenski was named to the 2018 All Star game, to the 2017 All Rookie Team, and finished third in the Calder Trophy voting his rookie season.
Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky
Seven years of bailout goaltending make you easily the goaltender of the decade. Bobrovsky was brought in from Philadelphia and immediately solved the Jackets’ goaltending woes. In seven years, Bobrovsky went 213-130-27 in 369 games started. Bob posted a .921 save percentage, a 2.41 goals against average, and 33 shutouts. He posted 8 assists in here, was named to the 2017 All Star game, and won the 2013 and 2017 Vezina Trophies.In 2013 and 2017, he was named to the postseason NHL All Star First Team.
If we’re going with an all-decade list, then I think the choices for the Jackets are pretty obvious. My picks for the best at each position would be:
The only room for debate, really, is Dubois vs. Johansen for the center spot. Johansen had a higher ceiling but Dubois has been more consistent, and present for more team success.
Because disagreement and debate are more fun, I am going to present an alternate selection. Instead of the best Blue Jackets, I want to highlight the MOST Blue Jackets. Which guys exemplify what Blue Jackets hockey is? Certainly it’s not highly skilled play. We think of hard work, big hits, evidence of love for the city, and one who can overcome low expectations to overachieve.
Center: Brandon Dubinsky
I give Dubinsky a lot of credit for overhauling a toxic locker room in the aftermath of the Carter and Nash departures. He came in with a swagger and a chip on his shoulder and was a de facto captain for the next 2-3 years. Bonus points for always getting under the skin of the Penguins.
Wings: Matt Calvert, Nick Foligno
When Dubinsky got hurt in the 2014-15 season, it was Foligno that took over the mantle as de facto captain, and earned the C officially that following summer. Before that, he got to be a hometown captain in the All Star Game here, in a season where he scored 31 goals. Then there’s that OT winner at home vs. Pittsburgh in 2014 which remains the favorite single CBJ highlight for many (most?) fans.
Calvert is perhaps the epitome of this designation. Undersized, underskilled, but scrappy as hell. Who can forget him taking a puck to the dome, then returning to the game with a bandage on his head a la Henry Fleming and scoring the game winning goal? Plus, how many other players can say they’ve scored playoff OT winners this decade against both Pittsburgh and Washington?
Defense: David Savard, Fedor Tyutin
Savard has been around long enough to see multiple peaks and valleys in his Blue Jackets tenure. For most of that time he has been a reliable shutdown defender.
I feel like Toots gets forgotten, despite playing the third most games in franchise history. He was another reliable shutdown defender, and had to prop up a lot of bad teammates between the 2009 and 2014 playoff appearances. He joins the ranks of former players to have returned to Columbus after retirement to work for the team.
Goalie: It’s difficult to identify any goalie besides Bob that made an impact of any sort in this decade. But for the sake of variety I’ll put forth Curtis McElhinney here. C-Mac was a throw-in as return for Antoine Vermette. Coming off of an injury, few thought he had any chance of spending much time in Columbus. After a solid bounceback year in Springfield, he became the backup in the successful 2013-14 season. He provided competent relief work behind a Vezina-caliber goaltender and made no complaints when Joonas Korpisalo got more starts for an injured Bob in 2015-16. The most Blue Jacket thing about C-Mac is that he had more success after the Blue Jackets cut him loose.
Now that you’ve seen our picks, tell us about your Columbus Blue Jackets All-Decade team in the comments.