It has been a WILD few weeks in Blue Jackets Land - it feels like nearly every day has brought about a huge shakeup in the fabric of the team: Cam Atkinson to Philly and Seth Jones to Chicago, most significantly. Nick Foligno, who was rumored to return after a doomed Stanley Cup attempt with the Toronto Maple Leafs, landed in Boston instead.
So who remains?
Oliver Bjorkstrand, thank God - locked him down awhile ago. Zach Werenski just hit everyone with a stunner by signing a whopping $57.5 million, 6-season extension, so he’s here to stay for the r*build.
Perhaps lost in the mix of everything going on is Boone Jenner’s quiet, significant decision to stay - a two-fold decision made both by him and the front office, who have obviously shown they’re not afraid to break away from their “loyalty” narrative to trade away veteran players who have declared their desire to stay in Columbus.
Boone’s contract extension, worth $15 million and running through the 2025-26 season, which makes him the longest-tenured CBJ player sticking around. And I’m happy to have him! I think Boone is made of real captain material - especially with the recent absence of other long-term locker room leadership, his time to step up is now.
Jeff Svoboda recently wrote a great article in which Boone articulates his decision to stay - here’s a quick excerpt that really sums up his feelings about Columbus:
“Some of the stuff that is said about Columbus and the city of Columbus and stuff in the media definitely rubs me the wrong way. I’m a guy that’s been here eight years now, and it’s a tremendous city and organization and everything, so I don’t agree with it. I’m obviously doing my best with other guys and stuff to show them around and show them the city and everything that comes with it.
“I just love it, and I don’t agree with a lot of those opinions that Columbus as a city or whatever you want to call it gets.”
Jenner has worn the “A” on his sweater since 2015, and with Cam, Seth, and Foligno gone, he seems the most natural next option for the captaincy.
Here’s a look at his career stats, in case you need any further convincing:
Boone Jenner: NHL/CBJ Career Stats:
Games played: 530
Penalty In Minutes: 309
Game-Winning Goals: 20
Overtime Goals: 0
Playoff Games: 37
Playoff Goals: 8
Playoff Assists: 7
Playoff Points: 15
Playoff Game-Winning Goals: 1
Here’s what GM Jarmo Kekalainen has to say about the CBJ vet:
“I talk about character a lot. I don’t know if there’s too many better guys character-wise than Boone Jenner. He’s a heart and soul guy for us. He does so many different things, so many little things that don’t necessarily show on the score sheet.
“He is a competitor. He is a great team-first guy, and he plays hard. He shows up every night to compete and does the same thing in every practice. He elevates the level of our work and the standard there every day, and those are the types of leaders we want here and we want him for the long term.”
Jenner’s steady presence is exactly what the team will need going into this upcoming season - he knows the ropes and will be ready to teach others. With an injection of both young and veteran talent to the team, he can step up to be the binding agent that ushers the Jackets into a new era, while still maintaining their team and franchise values from the last two decades.
In his recent interview with Svoboda, Jenner closed by saying this:
“We want to go back to the playoffs. That’s our goal. We are going to get some different faces and whatnot in September, but the goal doesn’t change. We are going after it right away from day one, I’m sure. Everyone is champing at the bit after last year, the guys that were here, and we’re excited to get back and get going that way and prove ourselves.”
And if you’re still on the fence about Jenner as a captain, I would ask that you release all pre-conceived notions of what this season is going to be like - I have a feeling these will be the Blue Jackets as we’ve never seen them before.
Here’s a little reminder of the type of player Jenner is and can continue to be: