A Look Back at the Columbus Blue Jackets’ NHL All-Stars

In the days of Zach Werenski and Sergei Bobrovsky, to Rick Nash and Espen “Shampoo” Knutsen, the Columbus Blue Jackets feature 11 individuals, culminating in 17 nominations, that have represented among the NHL's elite. We take a stroll down All-Star memory lane.

With the 63rd NHL All-Star Game in Tampa upon us this weekend, it is a good time to look back at the list of Columbus Blue Jackets All-Star representatives through the years. To their franchise name, 11 individual figures, culminating in 17 nominations, have been annually elected to represent among the best the NHL has to offer.

This season, the team featured a few candidates that could have made All-Star appearances for the Blue Jackets. In the end, it was defenseman Seth Jones who was selected but ultimately replaced by teammate Zach Werenski as Jones will miss the event (illness).

*Jones is not subject to miss the Blue Jackets next game against the Minnesota Wild when the teams return to action Tuesday in Columbus.

Zach Weresnki (2018)

63rd NHL All-Star Game, Tampa

Zach Werenski is second among all NHL defenseman, and is third on the Blue Jackets, with 11 goals, and is fifth on the team in points (22). His next goal this season will set a career-high, breaking his mark of 11 set a season ago in his debut and Calder Memorial candidate season.

Seth Jones (2018, 2017)

63rd NHL All-Star Game, Tampa

Seth Jones (eight goals, 24 assists, 32 points) has heated up offensively. Nine games into the new year, Jones has recorded nine points (one goal, eight assists) in seven games. Jones is second among Jackets defenseman in goals, and second on the team in assists. Since Dec. 2, Jones is tied for third with five goals among all defenseman, fifth with 12 assists, and is tied for third with 17 points.

Jones’ nine power-play points (three goals, six assists) is good for 14th overall, and second among defenseman behind Brent Burns. For comparative sake, Steven Stamkos is second in the league with 26 power-play points but tied with Jones’ nine since Dec. 2.

Jones had two goals in last year’s event in L.A.

John Tortorella (2017)

62nd NHL All-Star Game, Los Angeles

Columbus was among the best teams in the NHL (.750, 28-8-4, 62 points) garnering coach John Tortorella his second All-Star nomination, and first as coach of the Blue Jackets. His first trip came in 2012 as the New York Rangers bench boss.

*Tortorella did not coach the game as he tended to his sick dog.

Sergei Bobrovsky (2015, 2017)

Sergei Bobrovsky earned his first All-Star bid for the 60th NHL All-Star game in 2015 (missed due to injury), and again for the 62nd All-Star game in 2017.

For Goalie Bob this year, the reigning Vezina winner was crowded out in a deep goaltending class. He is tied for second among all goaltenders with four shutouts, is sixth in wins (22), and has a .920 save percentage to go with a 2.46 goals-against average.

Cam Atkinson (2017)

62nd NHL All-Star Game, Los Angeles

Cam Atkinson enjoyed a breakout season for Columbus, setting career-highs in goals (35), assists (27), points (62) plus-minus (13) and he had 10 power play goals, 21 power play points, also a career-best.

The All-Star Game, for the second-consecutive year, was broken into a four-team, three-on-three, single elimination tournament. Each division represented individual teams, and each played two, 10-minute halves.

The Metropolitan was the best division, winning the event, first 10-6 over the Atlantic in Game 2, and then knocking off the Pacific 4-3 in the final. Atkinson had four points (two goals, two assists) in the first event and a goal in the final.

Atkinson feeds John Tavares I

Atkinson spin-o-rama rebound feeds John Tavares II

This time, Tavares fed Atkinson.

And both hook up again for good measure.

Atkinson gets his third in the final.

Brandon Saad (2016)

61st NHL All-Star Game, Nashville

The union was short-lived, but Brandon Saad was an All-Star forward half his Columbus tenure. Saad also took part in the “Fastest Skater” and “Breakaway Challenge” competitions.

In Nashville, the Pacific All-Stars beat the Atlantic 1-0.

Saad had an assist, setting up Evgeni Malkin with the up-ice outlet pass for the Metropolitan in their 4-3 defeat to the Atlantic.

Nick Foligno (Captain, 2015)

60th NHL All-Star Game, Columbus

With Columbus hosting the All-Star Game for the first time, what better than to have Blue Jackets’ Nick Foligno captain “Team Foligno.” No. 71 got the honor to draft his team that ultimately fell 17-12 to Chicago Blackhawks captain, Jonathan Toews, and “Team Toews.”

It was a career year for the eventual Blue Jackets’ captain, setting career marks in goals, (31), assists (42), and points (73). Foligno also scored one goal in the game. He became the official Blue Jackets’ captain following the 2015 season.

Ryan Johansen (2015)

60th NHL All-Star Game, Columbus

Before the trade that gave way to current All-Star, and franchise-cornerstone defenseman Seth Jones, there were many positive moments in Central Ohio for Ryan Johansen and the Blue Jackets. One of the best moments occurred during the All-Star event in 2015, as Columbus hosted for the first time.

Johansen and co. did not disappoint.

During the skills competition, and prior to competing in the “Breakaway Challenge,” Johansen stole the show early, unveiling an Ohio State jersey under his Blue Jackets sweater, and then promptly went on to win the event.

He also took home the MVP of the All-Star Game after netting four points (two goals, two assists) in Team Foligno’s 17-12 loss to Team Toews.

Rick Nash (04, 2007-09, 2011)

58th NHL All-Star Game, Carolina
57th NHL All-Star Game, Montreal
56th NHL All-Star Game, Atlanta
55th NHL All-Star Game, Dallas
54th NHL All-Star Game, Minnesota

Among the greatest Blue Jackets statistically, Rick Nash has served as one of Columbus’ brightest stars the most times, (five appearances). Between 2002-2011 for Columbus, Nash is the all-time leader in games played (674), points 547, goals (289), assists (258) and brought home the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy in 2004.

The 2004 All-Star Game was played in Minnesota, and Nash did not record a point in the West's 6-4 loss to the East. (The East vs West format made it's return in 2003 for the first time since 1997). Nash also was the first Blue Jacket to take part in the Skills Competition, winning the “Puck Control Relay” event.

In the 2007 game in Dallas, Nash had two goals, one assist in the West’s 12-9 win.

The 2008 game took place in Atlanta, an 8-7, East win. Nash, taking the place of the injured Mike Ribeiro, scored a hat trick, as well as the first goal of the game, 12 seconds in, breaking the record for fastest goal in All-Star Game history, going back to Ted Lindsay (19 seconds) in 1950.

2009: In Montreal, the East won 12-11 in a shootout, and Nash recorded three points (one goal, two assists).

2011: In Carolina, Nash had an assist and goal for Team Staal, who fell to Team Lidstrom 11-10. Nash also took part in the “Shooting Accuracy” contest, defeating Phil Kessel, and Nash fell in the “Hardest Shot” competition to Dustin Byfuglien.

Ray Whitney (2003)

53rd NHL All-Star Game, Florida

We’re really going back now but if we’re digging through the neon bug, then that also brings to mind, Ray Whitney. “The Wizard” had a long and productive NHL career, dating from 1991 with the San Jose Sharks, all the way up to 2014 with the Dallas Stars. With three seasons in Columbus (01-03) Whitney took part in 151 games, compiling 140 points (45 goals, 95 assists).

The West won 6-5 in a first-ever, at the time, All-Star game shootout, and Whitney, the first Blue Jacket selected as a starter, had an assist.

Espen Knutsen (2002)

52nd NHL All-Star Game, Los Angeles

Espen Knutsen, ‘Shampoo,’ gets to hold the regard of being the inaugural Blue Jackets’ All-Star, going all the way back to the 2002 NHL All-Star game in Los Angeles. Whitney took the place of injured selection, Jere Lehtinen.

Outside of 19 games with the Anaheim Ducks in 1997-98, Knutsen enjoyed the bulk of his NHL career as a member of the Blue Jackets. He compiled 27 goals, 81 assists, 108 points over parts of four NHL seasons with the Jackets. Knutsen had one goal in the Team World’s 8-5 win over North America.

And there you have it.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have gone on to send multiple All-Stars to compete with the world’s best, becoming the focal point of the NHL when the city hosted the event in 2015, and all the while, making memories.

We’ll see what memories Zach Werenski make this weekend in Tampa.

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