The Columbus Blue Jackets are one of three new divisional opponents for the Rangers this season---joining the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals---and one could foresee a serious rivalry building between New York and Columbus this season and for years to come. While the Rangers and Blue Jackets have an extremely limited on-ice history against one another---only 12 games ever played, none last year when Columbus resided in the Western Conference---two major trades consummated by the two teams in less than one year certainly will spice things up as the Blue Jackets come East in 2013-14 to play in the Metropolitan Division.
Rick Nash, Derick Brassard, John Moore, and Derek Dorsett were acquired by the Blueshirts from Columbus in those two deals last year, while Marian Gaborik, Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, and Tim Erixon were swapped to the Blue Jackets. Add to the mix that Anton Stralman and new Rangers associate coach Scott Arniel have Columbus ties, while Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin started his career in New York and the club’s President is former Rangers goalie and broadcaster John Davidson, and you have quite a few players with a lot to prove against their former club.
Both teams are also serious playoff contenders. The Rangers are once again considered to be among the league’s elite, while Columbus seems on the verge of success after just missing out on the 2013 post-season.
In addition the two most recent Vezina Trophy winners---Sergei Bobrovsky in 2013 and Henrik Lundqvist in 2012---play for Columbus and New York respectively, leading to much anticipation for when these two clubs meet this upcoming season.
Check out this division preview, then share your thoughts in the comments below.