Entering the league in 2000, the Blue Jackets struggled for much of their first two decades of existence to simply find their footing in the NHL. They didn’t make the playoffs for the first time until 2009, and didn’t have their first playoff win until 2014. Between being a basement dweller where teams would dump some bad contracts, to trying to build a Stanley Cup caliber team, it shouldn’t be surprising that a few strange players have suited up for the Blue Jackets over the years.
Number 5- Francois Beauchemin
Best remembered for his three separate tenures with the Anaheim Ducks, Francois Beauchemin first got his feet wet in the NHL in Columbus. Originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, he enjoyed multiple great seasons with their AHL affiliate, but could never squeak his way into the NHL. On September 15, 2004 the Habs put Beauchemin on waivers and he was claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets the following day. He spent the lockout in the AHL, but made the Blue Jackets roster to start the 2005-06 season. Only 11 games into his Blue Jackets stint, he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for veteran forward Sergei Fedorov.
Number 4- Marian Gaborik
Opening his career with the Minnesota Wild, and later the New York Rangers, Marian Gaborik was 757 games into his NHL career in 2013. In the midst of a disappointing 2012-13 season, Gaborik was traded from the Rangers to the Blue Jackets on April 3, 2013 in exchange for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore. He played the last 12 games of the season with Columbus, and started the 2013-14 season with them as well, but was once again traded, this time to the LA Kings on March 5, 2014. Gaborik’s time in Columbus wrapped up with nine goals and 21 points in 34 games played.
Number 3- Scottie Upshall
After an injury-riddled 2009-10 season with the Phoenix Coyotes, Scottie Upshall returned to the lineup during the 2010-11 season where he helped the Coyotes into the playoff picture. Unfortunately, Upshall never got to see their success, as he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets right before the 2011 trade deadline. He appeared in 21 games for Columbus where he scored six goals and seven points. In the offseason, he signed a contract with the Florida Panthers.
Number 2- Nick Schultz
Best known for his decade-long stint with the Minnesota Wild, defenseman Nick Schultz was traded to the Edmonton Oilers on February 7, 2012. He stayed in with the Oilers until the 2014 trade deadline when he was dealt again, this time to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a fifth round pick. Schultz suited up for nine of the Blue Jackets’ remaining games and two of their playoff games, registering just one assist in that span. In the summer of 2014, he signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers, ending his brief stint in Columbus.
Number 1- Jonathan Marchessault
After an impressive junior career in the QMHJL, Marchessault found himself undrafted in the NHL. He signed with the Rangers AHL affiliate for the 2011-12 season where he scored 64 points in 76 games. He did not re-sign after the season, instead opting to sign a three-year entry-level contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Marchessault once again tore up the AHL with 67 points in 74 games, earning a brief two game call up to the Blue Jackets. He went pointless in his NHL debut and returned to the AHL for the following season until he was dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2014 trade deadline.
The longtime Colorado Avalanche defenseman only saw two-and-a-half seasons away from the organization, and that was a trip to Columbus that lasted 187 games. Foote became one of the many cap casualties the Avalanche organization faced after the lockout and implementation for the salary cap in 2005. He signed a three-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets where he took the role of captain in December of 2005. When his contract was due in 2008, he was traded back to the Avalanche in exchange for two draft picks.
Once upon a time, Thomas Vanek was a superstar on the rise for the Buffalo Sabres. Now, he’s a journeyman forward who has played for nine different teams since 2013. Vanek started the 2017-18 season with the Vancouver Canucks, and was posting his best season in many years. At the 2018 trade deadline, Vanek was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Jussi Jokinen and Tyler Motte. Vanek played in 19 games, scoring 15 points and chipped in two points during the Columbus Blue Jackets six playoff games. In the offseason, Vanek signed with the Detroit Red Wings, where he played one more season before he retired in the summer of 2019.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: zimbio.com