Expectations don't define a season, but it's impossible to ignore how much they've changed for the Blue Jackets in one year.
Columbus still has head coach John Tortorella to lead the team, but its players aren't getting many offseason accolades (to say the least).
The most recent example to prove this notion comes from EA SPORTS' NHL 20, which had a list of the Top 50 players according to their individual ratings in the video game.
Former Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky came in at No. 23 on the list. Not too far behind was another former member of the club–Artemi Panarin–who was rated as the No. 36 player in the league.
How many current players from the Blue Jackets made the list? The answer is zero.
Forward Cam Atkinson and defenseman Seth Jones are the two players who were arguably the most unfortunate to be left out of the mix. Atkinson scored a career-high 41 goals in the 2018-19 season, tying a franchise record previously held by Rick Nash. A goal in every other game speaks for itself.
Jones, on the other hand, is a do-it-all defenseman. His 6-foot-4-inch frame allows him to keep plays alive in the offensive zone and makes for an intimidating force on the other end of the rink. Jones racked up 37 assists in 75 regular season games and flourished during 3-on-3 action with three overtime goals. In case that wasn't convincing enough, Jones recorded three goals and six assists in 10 playoff games, including the late game-winner in Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This whole lack-of-respect narrative is nothing new for John Tortorella & Co.
"Our whole mantra at the beginning of the year was being better pros, being businessmen and just trying to gain respect in the league because we had zero going into this season. Zero," Tortorella said back in March of 2017. "It’s one day at a time. Just worry about the next day."
Jones and Atkinson being left off a list of players in a video game won't affect what happens when the puck drops in October, but it reminds us the Blue Jackets aren't getting the hype they once used to as we near the beginning of a new season.
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