John Tortorella's First Four Years With the Blue Jackets: A Recap

By Jacob Nitzberg on October 21, 2019 at 1:45 pm
Oct 12, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes head coach John Tortorella looks on from behind the p[layers bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

On October 21st, 2015, the Blue Jackets and John Tortorella reached an agreement for Tortorella to become the ninth head coach in Blue Jackets history.

Since that day four years ago, the Blue Jackets, as a franchise, have changed dramatically. The club has made the playoffs in each of the last three years, and last year they became the first team to ever sweep the President's Trophy winners. 

Let's take a trip down memory lane and travel through the last four years. 


Tortorella became the head coach of the Blue Jackets after Todd Richards was fired, due to the team starting 0-7-0. After Tortorella's arrival, the team went 34-33-8, finishing eighth in the Metropolitan Division. 

Cam Atkinson was the leading scorer for the Blue Jackets, tallying 27 goals and 26 assists for 53 points.

The season was largely forgettable as a whole. Let's move on to the more enjoyable times.


In John Tortorella's first full season with the club, the Blue Jackets took the NHL by storm. They went 50-24-8 in the regular season, good for 108 points (a club record).

The highlight of the season was the unforgettable 16-game winning streak, including a perfect 14-0-0 record in December. The most memorable part of the streak was the game vs. the Minnesota Wild on New Year's Eve, which was the first game in the history of the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL between two teams riding winning streaks of at least 12 games. The Blue Jackets had won 14 in a row, and the Wild had won 12. Columbus prevailed, 4-2.

Despite their outstanding regular season, they still finished third in the Metro behind the Washington Capitals (111 points) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (108 points + a tiebreaker). The Blue Jackets found themselves matched up against the Penguins in the first round — a matchup that proved too difficult, as the Penguins won the series 4-1.


Expectations were high for the Blue Jackets after the high-flying 2016-17 campaign. While the team wasn't as successful, they still finished the regular season with a record of 45-30-7, good for 97 points and the first wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.

The regular season was exciting, with a 12-3-1 record (including a 10-game winning streak) in March cementing a playoff spot.

In the playoffs, the Blue Jackets faced off against the Capitals, the Metropolitan Division winners. Columbus won both games in Washington to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series, but then collapsed and lost four straight to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the second-straight year.


It was certainly a rollercoaster of a season for everyone involved in the organization. The Blue Jackets didn't clinch a playoff spot until their second-to-last game, despite adding a bevy of talent at the trade deadline. The club finished with a 47-31-4 record (98 points). 

They then matched up against the formidable Tampa Bay Lightning — and promptly destroyed them in four games. Next up were the Boston Bruins, who the Blue Jackets took to six games before falling short.


It's too early to tell how this season will go. The Blue Jackets currently stand at 3-3-2 and have a four-game point streak. If the past is anything to go by, this group will be competing for a playoff spot throughout the entire season.

The John Tortorella era has certainly brought change to the organization — a welcome sight.

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