NHL Predictions: 10 Reasons the Columbus Blue Jackets Will Contend in 2011-2012

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NHL Predictions: 10 Reasons the Columbus Blue Jackets Will Contend in 2011-2012
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In the 2010-2011 season, the Columbus Blue Jackets had the highest of highs, only to be followed by the lowest of lows. Before the February trade deadline, the Blue Jackets were only a few points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

The other teams in the league were put on notice that the Blue Jackets were contenders and with a few more wins, would make it to the playoffs for the second time in franchise history. As the wins piled up, the seats in Nationwide Arena began to fill; the fans believed.

But, as quickly as the team had the playoffs in their grasp, it was taken away. The Jackets would go into a downward spiral, only winning three of their final 21 games. They quickly dropped in the standings, finishing the season in 13th place in the Western Conference, a whopping 16 points back from the eighth spot.

General manager Scott Howson was tired of the team's constant shortcomings and knew a change needed to occur.

He began an overhaul of the team, and in the three months since the Blue Jackets season ended, a new contender has emerged in the Western Conference.

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