Since the National Hockey League expanded to Columbus, the Blue Jackets have qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs only twice. And, after 45 games in 2014-15, a second consecutive trip to the post-season appears in jeopardy.
After nine and six-game losing streaks that ran through October and November, the Blue Jackets sit 14 points out of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference at the All-Star break, with this weekend’s festivities in Columbus.
Hard to gain momentum in a market without a winning product.
As Yahoo Sports reported, the Blue Jackets have been near the bottom of the league when it comes to attendance. According to ESPN, they sit 24th in the league with an average attendance of 15,611 fans per game.
“We need to bring a winning team here,” Columbus forward and All-Star captain Nick Foligno told Yahoo Sports.
“We really started something special last year, and we want that to continue. Obviously not off to the best start this year, but we’re working our way through it. We’re still a young team. There’s going to be growing pains.
“If we can get a winning team in this city, it’s going to be an unbelievable city for a lot of years, and I think the fans will really jump on board, which they already have, really. I’m excited to see what we can do with a winning franchise in this city.”
At the end of December, the Blue Jackets signed Foligno to a six-year, $33 million contract extension.
And they’ve locked up the backbone of their team, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, to a long-term deal – a four-year, $29.7 million contract extension announced earlier this month.