Franchise Best: Columbus Blue Jackets 2016-2017 Season

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Blue Jackets 2016-17 season
COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 19: Head Coach John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets talks to Seth Jones #3 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the game against the Ottawa Senators on January 19, 2017 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Ottawa defeated Columbus 2-0. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

The Franchise Best Series comes to you to dive into the all-time best single season for every organization. This, of course, includes post-season results. Join us for a look back at some of the most memorable moments in each franchise’s history. Here is the Columbus Blue Jackets best season.

The 2016-2017 NHL season is easily the best season in the history of the Columbus Blue Jackets Franchise.  The Blue Jackets broke many individual and team franchise records. Here is a look back on the Blue Jackets 2016-2017 season.

Columbus Blue Jackets 2016-2017 Season

The Previous Season

Coming into the 2016-2017 NHL season there was not a lot expected of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team was coming off of a disappointing season only getting 76 points, earning the third overall draft pick. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had been injured most of the season and head coach Todd Richards was fired after the team started the season 0-7. Richards was replaced with coaching veteran John Tortorella.  There were two bright spots on the season however, one was Brandon Saad who was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks and lived up to the hype. Saad tied for the team lead in points with 53. The other bright spot was the other player that was tied for points leader Cam Atkinson, who had a breakout season.

Tortorella’s coaching style and personality rubbed some players the wrong way, most notably star center, Ryan Johansen. As a result on January 6th, 2016, the Blue Jackets shipped Johansen to the Nashville Predators. In return, Columbus received a young up and coming defenseman in Seth Jones. While that was the only trade during the season, acquiring Jones was a huge reason why the Blue Jackets would make a quick turn around the next year.

Another big bright spot for a better future was AHL affiliate Lake Erie Monsters going on to win the Calder Cup. With players like Zach Werenski, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Josh Anderson, Sonny Milano, Markus Hannikainen, and Lukas Sedlak.  All of these players gave a glimpse of hope for the future. Bjorkstrand even won the Jack A. Butterfield trophy given to the AHL Playoff MVP.

Off-season Additions

The Blue Jackets did not do much to add to their NHL roster during free agency. However, they did sign a journeyman center who was not expected to do much. Sam Gagner would go one to prove everyone wrong. The Blue Jackets would also trade Kerby Rychel to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Scott Harrington and a 5th round pick. Harrington would end up playing in 22 games in Columbus that season. The Blue Jackets also pulled up multiple players from the Monsters to be on the roster. All of the players that were mentioned before had an impact on the upcoming season.

The Regular Season

The Blue Jackets started off the regular season with a promising start going 11-5-4 through 20 games. Bobrovsky was great, with a goals against average of 2.23 and recording all 11 Columbus wins. The team had a league-leading power-play at 29.4 percent. Columbus was also tied for eighth in the league in points and was also eight in goals for.

On November 29th, 2016 something started that no one saw coming. The Blue Jackets went on a 16-game win streak, setting a franchise record. It was also the second longest win streak in NHL history. From November 29th till January 3rd the Blue Jackets collected all 32 points, had a power-play percentage of 28.3, scored 62 goals and only gave up 27. Gagner, Saad, and Atkinson all averaged a point or more per game during that stretch. Bobrovksy won 14 of the 16 games and had a goals against average of just 1.64 during the streak.

The other big storyline during the season came in the second half, really starting in mid-January. The once unstoppable Blue Jackets power-play disappeared and was nowhere to been found. Columbus went nine games between January 24th through February 13th without a power-play goal. Later, the Blue Jackets scored just one power-play goal in their last 14 games. Even though the Blue Jackets power-play disappeared it did not stop them from getting the franchise’s first 100 point season and a matchup with the rival Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Notable Games

Notable games during the season include the Blue Jackets beating the Montreal Canadiens on November 4th by a score of 10-0. Setting franchise records in goals scored in a game and winning margin. The other most notable game of that season happened on November 18th against the New York Rangers. In the second period, Matt Calvert took a puck to the face and went off the ice bleeding. In the third period, Calvert returned to the game and scored a shorthanded game-winning goal.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Stanley Cup Playoffs were a disappointment for the Blue Jackets. Columbus lost the first two games in Pittsburgh scoring only one goal in each game. Then when the series came back to Columbus there was finally an interesting game but the Blue Jackets were on the wrong side of a 5-4 double overtime result. After that heartbreaking loss, the team responded and get their only win of the series 5-4 in front of their home crowd. However, the Penguins were ready to win the series on home ice defeating the Blue Jackets 5-2 and eliminating Columbus in five games.

Award Season

The Blue Jackets were well represented at the 2017 NHL Award Show, and rightfully so. Head coach John Tortorella beat out Mike Babcock and Todd McLellan for the Jack Adams Award. Sergei Bobrovsky was awarded his second Vezina Trophy over Carey Price and Braden Holtby. Bobrovksy also finished third in the Hart trophy race behind the recipient Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby. Captain Nick Foligno was awarded the King Clancy Trophy and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski finished third in the Calder Trophy race behind recipient Auston Matthews and runner-up Patrik Laine.

While the Stanley Cup Playoffs did not go as well as the Columbus faithful hoped, the regular season was a bright surprise. The Blue Jackets, coming off of a terrible season, turned around and broke or tied 18 different franchise records. These included points, wins, goals scored, goals allowed and fewest losses. This was by far the Blue Jackets best season in their short history.

 

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