Folks, we are just 43 days away from the Blue Jackets' first game of the 2022-23 regular season.
Most of the Jackets' games will be broadcast on Bally Sports Ohio, but will any games be on ABC/ ESPN or TNT, the NHL's national broadcast partners in the U.S.? Excluding the exclusively streamed ESPN+/Hulu games, the Blue Jackets had zero games on the three aforementioned networks last season, according to sportsmediawatch.com.
After the exciting off-season headlined by the signing of Johnny Gaudreau, the Jackets should be a bigger draw nationally this season. Here are my best guesses regarding which games could be broadcast nationally in the U.S.
Thursday, Nov. 10 vs. Philadelphia
John Tortorella's return to Columbus should create buzz around the NHL, and Tortorella's employer for the 2021-22 season, ESPN, has the Thursday night NHL games. Other games in that window that could rival this one are Calgary at Boston and Edmonton at Carolina. Additionally, the Jackets and Flyers meet in Columbus just five days later, so if there are any fireworks in the first clash, could the Jackets be on ESPN twice in six days?
Saturday, Dec. 17 @ Boston
This game is a 1 p.m. ET start, which ABC would use to broadcast NHL Saturday games last season. The only other game in this window is Ottawa at Detroit.
Thursday, Jan. 5 vs. Washington
Alexander Ovechkin will always be a national draw, and it's a Metro division matchup. The other games in this window are Arizona at Philadelphia, NY Rangers at Montreal, Nashville at Carolina, Seattle at Toronto, and St. Louis at New Jersey.
Monday, Jan. 16 vs. NY Rangers
This game takes place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and games will begin at 1 p.m. ET. The Rangers are a big draw and the only other games in this window are Anaheim at Pittsburgh and Washington at NY Islanders.
Monday, Jan. 23 @ Calgary
Johnny Gaudreau's return to Calgary should be the talk of the league that day and it's the only game in the league that starts after 9 p.m. ET.
Saturday, Feb. 25 vs. Edmonton
I would think ABC would jump at the chance to televise Connor McDavid nationally, especially when this game starts at 12:30 p.m. ET as opposed to most Edmonton games which begin at 9 p.m. ET or later. This is the only game that day that begins before 3 p.m. ET.
Tuesday, Apr. 4 @ Toronto
This is a showcase of two of the best American-born players in the league: Auston Matthews and the Leafs host Johnny Gaudreau and the Jackets. The other games in the 7 p.m. ET slot include Buffalo at Florida, Detroit at Montreal, Ottawa at Carolina, and Pittsburgh at New Jersey.
I'll be curious to see if the Jackets are on national TV this season. These are all viable options, but this is also just a thought exercise and I am no TV executive.