This may be the most worthless all-decade team ever assembled. First off, the team had no history before the start of this previous decade. Plus the Columbus Blue Jackets only notched one playoff spot during the 00’s. Do not forget that all hockey teams had to take a year off in the middle of the decade for a player lock-out. Without further ado, we present the Columbus Blue Jackets ‘All-Decade Squad’ presented by lousy seasons and failed promises.
Left Wing: Rick Nash. Nash is the most easy choice for any squad’s all-decade team. He is a large market player playing in a small market. He captained the team to their only playoff appearance. He is the only Blue Jacket to be on the cover of a video game. Don’t forget he also won a Rocket Richard Trophy during his career. Nash is easily a front-runner for the all-decade team in the teens as well as he is still young and still is locked down for many years. This is assuming the Blue Jackets can figure out their financial woes.
Honorable mention: Jason Chimera, and Geoff Sanderson.
Center: Manny Malhotra. Center has been the one position the franchise has historically struggled with. Nothing against Malhotra, but he was never more than a third line center, many times having to play on the top line. This was true for much of his final season in 2008-09 as he centered Nash and fellow forward Kristian Huselius. Malhotra simply played his heart out and was certainly becoming a leader and a strong face for the team in his latter seasons. This was true as the Blue Jackets approached their playoff run in 2009 as him and Chimera befriended a young cancer patient who the two welcomed in as a member of the team.
The Blue Jackets thought they solved their center woes in 2005 signing Sergei Fedorov from the Anaheim Ducks. This move did not pan out the way the Blue Jackets had hoped. Not that Fedorov played bad, but he never became the locker room leader the team had hoped for.
Honorable mention: Sergei Fedorov, Epsen Knutsen.
Right Wing: David Vyborny. Vyborny won this category in a landslide. He has played in 543 games and with 317 points in the 00’s. He is the second leading point scorer for the Blue Jackets behind Nash. He also was a huge contributor to the Blue Jackets’ early run as a franchise.
Honorable mention: Nikolai Zherdev (seriously, he is the next best one and look at the list beyond him).
Defensemen: Jan Hejda and Rostislav Klesla. Hejda had the two most outstanding seasons any Blue Jackets’ defenseman has had in 2007-08 and 2008-09. He was simple a shutdown guy. Nothing fancy but awfully brutal . He has fallen off a bit thus far in this season, mainly because he has yet to get a solid defensive partner to shut opponents down.
Klesla is finally coming into his own the last couple seasons. He was highly touted in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft as the Blue Jackets’ first pick. He would have won the award for disappointment of the decade up until the last several years where his two way play has vastly improved.
Honorable mention: Adam (insert four letter word here) Foote, Jaroslav Spacek.
Goalie: Marc Denis. Seriously, just one good season almost put Steve Mason on this list. The reason Denis is given this award is for his work ethic. Remember that 2002-03 season? Did he ever get a night off? He leads the franchise in wins, as well as losses. He also had a respectable .910 save percentage and 3.01 goals against average. Considering the defense in front of him; not bad.
Honorable mention: Pascal Leclaire, Steve Mason.
Coach: Ken Hitch… scratch that, Dave King. Hitchcock was destined for this spot until his rough finish in 2009. Look at Dave King’s first season. The inaugural season went down as the most surprising starts to any pro sports team. They finished the season well, and they played hard in every game. Unfortunately, King will be most remembered for the 2001-02 team which could never live up the hype the inaugural team had.
Come back in 2020 and we’ll have the 10’s installment of the Blue Jackets All Decade Squad.