The Blue Jackets took on Las Vegas this week. With Sergei Bobrovsky, Nick Foligno, Zach Werenski and head coach John Tortorella each finalists for NHL Awards, the four representatives mark the most sent by any team in the League to this year's award ceremonies.
"I'm excited for our team," Tortorella said. "I think it's a little bit of recognition for Mr. McConnell right on through. The way John Davidson, Jarmo (Kekalainen) and Billy (Zito) have gone about their business and gone about the process the right way, it's showing the League that we're coming. We still have a little way to go, but we've put ourselves on the map."
Tortorella is nominated for the Jack Adams Award, given to the coach who contributed most to his team's success. Helming a team that enjoyed a fourth-overall finish in the League, and a 50-win season for the first time in franchise history is no small accomplishment.
But while Tortorella is always one to redirect any focus from him, he has been more than happy to shine the light on what the Blue Jackets did this season, and the players being honored in Vegas.
"Werenski's got a great respect for the game, he's got a great respect for the League," Tortorella said. "We've got some great young kids in our League, but we have a defenseman that can do a lot of different thing offensively and defensively. That's really encouraging as we move forward."
Video: Werenski speaks prior to the NHL Awards in Las Vegas
Werenski (11-36-47) is up for the Calder Trophy awarded to the top rookie in the League, the only defensemen among the three finalists. He's in a field with Winnipeg's Patrik Laine (36-28-64) and childhood friend, Auston Matthews (40-29-69) from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
All three players had breakout seasons, but with Matthews considered the front runner for the award, Werenski says he hasn't prepared any comments but joked that he did help Matthews with his speech.
"I think just being here is pretty cool with the rookie class we had," Werenski said. "I'm happy to be here and enjoy the week, it's definitely an honor. I don't think I'm going to win but look at the guys that didn't make it and could have been here."
Video: Bobrovsky meets with media prior to the NHL Awards
While Werenski served as part of the core of the Jackets' defensive engine, the backbone of the team this season was goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Bobrovsky led the League in save percentage (.931), had seven shutouts and set a new franchise record for most wins by a goaltender in a single season (41). Having won his first Vezina Trophy, awarded to the League's best goaltender, in 2013, Bobrovsky is up for the same honor again this year. Fellow finalists include Washington's Braden Holtby and Montreal's Carey Price.
Bobrovsky is also a finalist for the Hart Trophy, an award for the player who was most valuable to his team. The other two nominees are Connor McDavid from the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby.
"It's huge for sure," Bobrovsky said. "I give big credit to my teammates. I'm here to represent them, I represent the whole team. It's a big thing that I'm here because of my teammates."
Video: Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno talks to the media
To have those teammates around for this week has been another positive for the finalists. Tuesday, Bobrovsky, Werenski and Tortorella got to watch Nick Foligno win both the Mark Messier Leadership Award and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in acknowledgment of the captain's leadership on and off the ice. Bobrovsky and Foligno even commemorated the honors with their traditional post-win hug.
"It's a team thing to me, for all of us to be here," Tortorella said. "It's exciting for the Blue Jackets. We put our best foot forward here, and with the process we're trying to go through, the accolades that are coming (the players') way, I think it's terrific.
"I hope they enjoy themselves here. It's not so much do you get the award, it's just being noticed. I think it's really good for the organization."