NEW YORK -- Coming off the Columbus Blue Jackets' record-setting 2016-17 season, defenseman Seth Jones has no reservations about confidently and matter-of-factly stating the goal for this season.
"We want to win the Stanley Cup right now," Jones said during the NHL Player Media Tour at the League offices on Wednesday.
The Blue Jackets set their single-season records for wins (50) and points (108) last season, when they finished third in the Metropolitan Division. Columbus lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in five games in the Eastern Conference First Round.
Video: Seth Jones talks Stanley Cup goal for Blue Jackets
Even with the early exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Blue Jackets' success last season, one season after they had 76 points to finish last in the division, has put them in the conversation among the NHL's elite teams, which means they should be considered a realistic contender to win the Stanley Cup this season.
The Blue Jackets had previously never had more than 43 wins or 93 points in a season.
"We've come a long way, I'll say that," Jones said. "When I got to Columbus [by trade from the Nashville Predators on Jan. 6, 2016] you knew it was in the room. You knew the core. You knew the values of the team. You knew the leadership and you knew it was there. But last year, we definitely translated it to the ice.
"We're all on the same page, all on the same team and we're all out to set one goal, and that's to win."
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Jones said the Blue Jackets need to be prepared for the challenges that come with being the hunted instead of the hunters, which they have historically been since coming into the NHL in 2000.
"We're not catching any teams off guard this year and we all know that," Jones said. "Every year you have to get better. You have to build on something. Last year wasn't good enough. We had a great season. We came a long way from the year before. But it wasn't good enough. We have to be that much better to be at the top of the League, where we want to be."