The Blue Jackets, who joined the NHL for the 2000-01 season, are one of two teams that have yet to reach a conference final. Two, out of 32. The other is the Seattle Kraken, an expansion team that began play in 2021-22, and have already won as many playoff series as the Jackets (one).
The Jackets’ first general manager, Doug MacLean, did not reach the playoffs during his six seasons in Columbus. The second GM, Scott Howson, went 1 for 5. The current GM, Jarmo Kekalainen, had five playoff teams in his first eight years on the job and zero in three years since.
Through 22 seasons (not counting Gary Bettman’s lost/lockout season of 2004-05) the Jackets have missed the playoffs 16 times. That means they’ve have gone through a raft of trade deadlines as sellers. And that means that other teams have padded their playoff rosters with former Jackets.
Ultimately, inevitably, some of these ex-Jackets have wound up as Stanley Cup champions. It’s a healthy number, too – more than 20, depending on how you want to count. It’s a whole team.
Quick Columbus Blue Jackets Stanley Cup trivia question
We’re not counting the players who won a Stanley Cup before they arrived in Columbus. Krzystof Oliwa, a troglodyte who played for the 2000 New Jersey Devils before he played for the Jackets, was the first. The last could be a trivia question:
Which ex-Jacket never played a game for the Jackets, and didn’t play a single playoff game for the Stanley Cup champions, and is eligible to have his name carved on the world’s most famous trophy? Answer below.
We are, however, at least making note of former Lake Erie Monsters coach Jared Bednar and former Columbus assistant GM Chris MacFarland, both of whom won the Cup with the 2022 Colorado Avalanche. Former Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, who filed for bankruptcy while he wore the Union Blue, was another member of that 2022 championship team.
So was defenseman Ryan Murray, who was the Jackets’ first-round (No. 2) pick in 2012. It is a shame that Murray’s career, once so promising, has been vexed by injuries. It is a credit to the Avalanche that they petitioned the league to have his name carved on the Cup, although he didn’t qualify.
To have one’s name etched as a player, one must play half the regular season (41 games) or one game in the Stanley Cup Final. Backup goalies must dress at least half the regular-season games or for one game in the Final. Which brings us back to the trivia question.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick came to the Jackets as part of the Vladislav Gavrikov/Joonas Korpisalo deal just prior to this year’s trade deadline. Quick was a Jacket for approximately 36 hours before he was flipped to the Vegas Golden Knights, who wanted some veteran depth in goal. They needed it. While Quick made but 10 regular-season appearances for Vegas, he was pressed into backup duty in the playoffs and was dressed and on the bench throughout the championship round.
Vegas Golden Knights had Columbus Blue Jackets flavor
It was another banner year for ex-Jackets, maybe the greatest year ever, as the Golden Knights defeated the Florida Panthers to win the Stanley Cup in five games. Both teams were littered with players who are hauntingly familiar to Jackets fans.
Right winger Jonathan Marchesseault, whose two years (2012-13) in the Jackets organization included two games with the big club in Columbus, became the first ex-Jacket to win the Conn Smythe. Marchesseault had 13 goals, including three game-winners, and 25 points in 22 playoff games.
The Jackets moved Marchesseault at the 2014 trade deadline – he and Dalton Smith were shipped to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Dana Tyrell and Matt Taormina. Marchesseault languished (again) in the minors. He signed with the Florida Panthers and scored 30 goals in 75 games in 2016-17. Then, the Panthers left him exposed in the expansion draft, and the rest is history.
Over the course of their six-year history, Vegas’ most valuable player has been either sniper Marchesseault (348 points in 432 games) or two-way center William Karlsson (307 in 432). Karlsson was once a well-loved Jacket – not to mention a steal of an acquisition, the deadline deal that sent defenseman James Wisniewski to Anaheim in 2015 – but he was exposed to Vegas by the Jackets just as Marchesseault was by the Panthers.
The deal the Kekalainen cut with Vegas prior the 2017 expansion draft went like this: The Knights took the contract of the injured David Clarkson, who had two more years and $10.5 million remaining and was physically incapable of playing hockey. The Knights also got a first-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2019. In exchange, they promised to pass on forward Josh Anderson and Korpisalo in the expansion draft, and they “agreed” to take Karlsson.
The deal remains a sensitive subject with Jackets fans, who can’t be blamed for gouging out their eyes with teaspoons after watching Vegas win the Cup. Seriously? Vegas?
The Golden Knights got a set of expansion-draft rules that were nothing like the screw-you rules the Jackets had in 2000. Their fans have suffered no pain in the paltry six years of their team’s existence. And now they have a Cup that will have Marchesseault’s, Karlsson’s, Quick’s and even Keegan Kolesar’s name on it. If you’re a Jackets fan, stomaching this is like drinking a solution of polyethylene glycol 3350 mixed with sodium ascorbate, sodium sulfate, ascorbic acid, sodium chloride and potassium chloride.
The Columbus Blue Jackets trend started early
The first ex-Jacket to win a Stanley Cup was forward Grant Marshall, with the 2003 New Jersey Devils. The second was defenseman Darryl Sydor, with Tortorella’s 2004 Lightning. After the lockout-lost season of 2004-05, forwards Ray Whitney and Kevyn Adams won with the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes and Todd Marchant and Francois Beauchemin won with the 2007 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, as the team was then known.
Adams was the first original Jacket, from the 2000-01 expansion team, to win a Cup. He’s now the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, and he has a better team than the Jackets. The second original Jacket to win the Cup was Kevin Dineen, an assistant coach with the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks.
Many of the players listed above were well-liked and/or respected by Jackets fans, and they were fun to follow as they forayed deep into the playoffs. You can root for a guy like “Wizard” Whitney, who slipped through MacLean’s fingers as an unrestricted free agent and went on to score 453 points in 697 games after he left Columbus. That is one way to summarize MacLean’s tenure.
Jeff Carter was perhaps the biggest error of Howson’s tenure. Carter, a center, was acquired in the summer of 2012 in an attempt at rapid improvement. He cost the Jackets a first-round pick (which Philadelphia used to draft Sean Couturier), a third-round pick (Nick Cousins) and a young, dynamic winger, Jakub Voracek. Carter didn’t want to play in Columbus and poisoned the locker room. He was moved at the next trade deadline to Los Angeles, and instantly won a Stanley Cup in 2012. He won another in 2014.
Carter remained a subject of playoff hate-watching in Columbus as he moved on to Pittsburgh.
There have been eras when it seemed like an ex-Jacket was a mandatory ingredient for a Stanley Cup champion. One of those eras ended when the Ducks won with Todd Marchant, who was traded because the GM was mad at him, and Francois Beauchemin, who was part of the deal that brought Sergei Fedorov to Columbus. Another era began in 2020, when the Lightning won with backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney and then won again with McElhinney and defenseman David Savard. Then came the Avalanche, and how we have Vegas, a city of stolen cities.
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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Columbus Blue Jackets’ pipeline of Stanley Cup champions continues to flow
Source: Yahoo Sports