David Vyborny came to the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent. Drafted in the second round by the Edmonton Oilers in 1993, Vyborny never played for the organization. He spent one season in the AHL, but blossomed into an offensive dynamo in the Czech Extraliga, capping his career in his home country with a league championship in the 1999-2000 season. With the elusive championship finally in his grasp, Vyborny finally made his way to North America, signing a three year contract with Columbus.
Vyborny was brought over Vyborny made his NHL debut in Columbus’ first game in the league, scoring a goal in the defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks. Vyborny went on to post 13-19-32 in his first season in North America. As the Blue Jackets improved over the next few years, though, so did Vyborny. Vyborny had his first 20 goal season in 2002-03, his first 50 point season in 2003-04, and set a career high with 65 points in 2005-06.
Vyborny also made history as the first Blue Jacket to score on a penalty shot in franchise history.
Vyborny played seven seasons for Columbus before he returned to the Czech Republic for the 2008-09 season and never played in the NHL again. Vyborny finished his career in 2016 after tearing his ACL and announcing his retirement.
Vyborny still holds a place on many career leaderboards for the Blue Jackets. He holds the following franchise marks (all stats per Hockey-Reference):
- Seventh in games played for the franchise (543)
- Sixth in goals scored (113)
- Second in assists (204)
- Fourth in points (317)
- Seventh in even strength goals (70)
- Fourth in power play goals (36)
- Third in shorthanded goals (7)
- Fifth in game winning goals (17)
- Sixth in total goals on-ice for (469)
Vyborny will always be remembered as a teammate of Rick Nash, one of the few offensive bright spots on a team that never made the playoffs. Vyborny’s name is splashed all over the early history of the franchise, carrying bad-to-mediocre teams offensively and being one of the few bright spots on a roster often starved for them.
On a personal note, David Vyborny was one of my now-late father’s favorite players. Dad used to always make sure to point him out to me when he was on TV and I was a young, still learning hockey fan. Remembering David Vyborny has been a great way to remember early Blue Jackets history, but also to remember my dad and how he helped introduce me to a team and a game I now care deeply about.
Thank you, to both my dad and to David Vyborny, for helping make those dour early Blue Jackets years a little brighter.