The Five: Columbus Blue Jackets Defensemen Who Have Logged The Most Minutes

By Ed Francis on December 4, 2020 at 1:20 pm
Rusty Klesla

Rick Nash spent 12,734 minutes on ice while wearing the Blue Jackets sweater. It's the franchise record for most career minutes by a single skater. That's a heck of a lot of minutes, especially for a forward.

But by the end of the 2021 calendar year, that record is likely to be topped by a defenseman – more on that in a bit.

In The Five, we're looking at the five Columbus defensemen who have logged the most time on ice in Blue Jackets history. 

#5: Seth Jones

Minutes: 8,029 (11th overall)

If you’re looking at an average ice time, Seth Jones leads this list by a country mile: He’s at 24:42 in that category, and no one else is within a full minute. All-time, Seth’s near 25-minutes a game clocks in at #1 amongst skaters, just ahead of former defensemen Adam Foote (24:26) and Jaroslav Spacek (24:10). If Jones is Columbus for the long-term, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be, he will eventually become the teams’ all-time leader in minutes played. It's not like he hasn't proven he can log big minutes:

#4: Jack Johnson

Minutes: 10,397 (5th overall)

The only Blue Jacket to hit 10,000 minutes of ice time with less than 500 games wearing a Columbus sweater – 445, to be precise - Jack Johnson was, at one point in his career, a serviceable defenseman. His exit from Columbus in 2018 was a bit tumultuous, as were his next two seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins before being bought out earlier this year. Johnson may still log minutes on Nationwide Arena ice, though: The New York Rangers still feel he’s good enough to be in the NHL.

#3: Rusty Klesla

Minutes: 10,594 (4th overall)

Despite being 8th on the franchise list in games played, the first draft pick in team history is the only Blue Jacket to have ten years of service with the team. (When the 2020-21 season starts, he will be joined by Cam Atkinson and David Savard.) Klesla played just eight games in the Blue Jackets inaugural season and had many seasons shortened due to injuries, but when he was healthy, he was a solid NHL defenseman. After a midseason trade during the 2010-11 season, Klesla logged 2,610 more minutes as an NHL player – all with the Phoenix Coyotes.  

#2: David Savard

Minutes: 11,413 (3rd overall)

It’s hard to know exactly when David Savard will become the Jackets’ all-time leader in minutes skated. He needs 1,322 minutes to pass Nash for that spot. Averaging about 20 minutes a night on the ice would mean we’re about 66 games from Savard topping the list. It doesn’t seem like we’ll see that many games this season, but as long as he stays healthy, you can project that we’ll see that record fall sometime in November of 2021. To become number one for defenseman only, though? That’s only 849 minutes away, which means we’re about 42 games away from seeing Savy pass the number one name on this list...

#1: Fedor Tyutin

Minutes: 12,261 (2nd overall)

If you knew that Fedor Tyutin would be in this spot, hats off to you. For whatever reason, Toots seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle of Blue Jackets past for many fans. It's still mind-blowing to me that he was with the team as late as just four years ago, in 2016. His 39 goals over 553 games played for Columbus is nothing to write home about, sure, but his job was never to score. His job was to make sure the other team didn't score, and for longer than any other Blue Jackets blue liner, he did exactly that - and he did it well.