With three days until the Blue Jackets open the season at Nationwide Arena on Oct. 4 vs. Toronto, BlueJackets.com is counting down to the days until start of the campaign. Today we look at three Blue Jackets milestones that will likely take place during the campaign.
One thing that happens when you have a core that sticks together is that the longer a player is around, the more likely he is to be able to break a franchise record.
Considering the Blue Jackets have a number of standout players both young and old, there are some milestones in the offing as the season gets under way.
Here are some big numbers to keep in mind as the Blue Jackets get going.
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1. Franchise goals record for defensemen
This one will be really fun to watch.
As the Blue Jackets open the season, the franchise's all-time record for career goals for a defenseman is 41, a mark set by Rostislav Klesla as he played from 2001-11.
A prediction: It will not last long into the season. The fun part: There are three Blue Jackets who could be the first to reach the magic number of 42.
Going into the season, longtime blueline stalwart David Savard has 40 career goals to his account, spurred on by a goal-scoring spree to end last season. Just behind him is Seth Jones, who has tallied 39 times in union blue. And hot on his heels is Zach Werenski, who has scored 38 times over his first three seasons in Columbus.
Those three could battle at the top of the CBJ chart for years, but only one will be the first one to pass Klesla and score his 42nd goal. Who will it be?
2. 500 games played
So far, just six players in Blue Jackets history have played 500 career games in union blue.
Rick Nash holds the record -- as he does just about every franchise mark -- having played 674 games from 2003-12. He's followed by Fedor Tyutin (553), David Vyborny (543), Cam Atkinson (527), Jared Boll (518) and Klesla (515).
But two more Blue Jackets should reach the mark this year, and they'll likely do it pretty quickly as well. Nick Foligno has played 490 games in his CBJ career, leaving him just 10 short of the mark, and right behind him is Savard, who has suited up 489 times.
Should the two stay healthy, Foligno -- who played his 800th career NHL game last season -- will reach No. 500 on Oct. 24 when the Blue Jackets host Carolina, and Savard will get there two nights later in Philadelphia. In other words, it will be a historic week.
Two other cool facts: Boone Jenner also might hit the 500 games played mark this season, though with 419 under his belt so far, he'll have to suit up in 81 of 82 games this year; and if Atkinson, Foligno and Savard stay healthy, they'll be Nos. 2, 3 and 4 in games played in Blue Jackets history by the end of the campaign.
3. Cam's quests
Atkinson is already all over the Blue Jackets record book, having moved a season ago into second place all-time in franchise annals in both goals and points.
He can reach some nice, round numbers in both of those categories this season as well. Atkinson enters the season with 186 goals and 342 points, meaning he needs 14 tallies and 58 points to reach 200 and 400, respectively.
With a good, healthy season, he should reach both milestones, which would be impressive figures for someone who entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick in 2008. In fact, the last sixth-round pick to reach the 200-goal milestone is Pavel Datsyuk, who was chosen in the 1998 NHL draft.
Atkinson also has some other big numbers in his reach this season. With 73 regular-season games played, he'll join Nash as the only Blue Jackets to play in 600 games in union blue. And he and Foligno are in a race to reach the No. 2 mark in franchise history in assists, a total of 204 that is held by Vyborny. Atkinson is 48 away, while Foligno needs 32.