The Columbus Blue Jackets
joined the NHL in 2000 along with the Minnesota Wild
as part of NHL expansion. The team name, Blue Jackets, was chosen to celebrate pride, patriotism and the Civil War history of the city of Columbus and the state of Ohio.
The first few years of existence for the Jackets didn't go so well. Their first six seasons ended in losing records and without an appearance in the playoffs. As a result, many changes took place in the front office, behind the bench and on the roster.
It all finally added up in the 2008-09 season. The team made trades that greatly benefited them, bringing in Jason Williams
from the Atlanta Thrashers
and acquiring Antoine Vermette
from the Senators for goalie Pascal Leclaire
. Both players took the change of scenery very well and their solid offensive production solidified the 2008-09 season. Meanwhile, Steve Mason
had taken over in net and put together a season worthy of the Calder Trophy as top rookie. The Blue Jackets clinched the first playoff berth in franchise history when they beat the Chicago Blackhawks
4-3 in a shootout.
They were swept by the Detroit Red Wings
, but the run to the playoffs paid off as expectations grew for the team. With a core of veteran leadership, and a solid group of young players making an impact, the Blue Jackets have a bright future.