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Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Updated: September 23, 12:29 PM ET
No. 46: Columbus Blue Jackets

By Eddie Matz
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 116
Title track: 93
Ownership: 60
Coaching: 63
Players: 55
Fan relations: 46
Affordability: 44
Stadium Experience 30
Bang for the Buck 31

Payback is a Hitch. After watching ex-coach Ken Hitchcock align with rival St. Louis in 2011, fans in Columbus got a small taste of revenge when former Blues exec John Davidson joined the Jackets. While an ownership rank of 60 may not seem exceptional, it's a 55-notch improvement from last year and a reflection of the fact that in his first season with the club, Davidson -- along with Jarmo Kekalainen, the NHL's first European GM -- helped Columbus come within a tiebreaker of reaching the postseason for just the second time in franchise history. The Jackets also jumped up big in the coaching category (plus 57 in Todd Richards' first full season on the bench), the players category (from dead last to 55, and that's before inking Cup-winning free agent Nathan Horton and re-signing 2013 Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky) and stadium experience (up 28, thanks to a $5.7 million makeover that included a new Nationwide scoreboard that weighs 43,000 pounds and has 2½ times more video space than the old one). Add it all up and Columbus soared 70 spots overall, most of any team in this year's standings.