After coming in last in the Central Division, the Columbus Blue Jackets are back in the Metropolitan division, looking to continue with their rebuild. Despite not having actually said the word “rebuild”, it is what it is. Even if on a smaller scale than other teams. They have a young team with players like Patrik Laine, Adam Boqvist, Zach Werenski, and Oliver Bjorkstrand. It’s a team with room and time to grow, and that’s what they’ll get being in a tough division this season.
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Kent Johnson, C, University of Michigan-NCAA (Round 1, Pick 5)
Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls Stampede-USHL(Round 1, Pick12)
Corson Ceulemans, D, Brooks Bandits-AJHL (Round 1, Pick 25)
Stanislav Svozil, D, HC Kometa Brno-Czech(Round 3, Pick 69)
Guillaume Richard, D, Tri-City Storm-USHL(Round 4, Pick 101)
Nikolai Makarov, D, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva-MHL (Round 5, Pick 132)
James Malatesta, C, Québec Remparts-QMJHL (Round 5, Pick 133)
Ben Boyd, C, Cole Harbour Wolfpack-NSMMHL(Round 6, Pick 165)
Martin Rysavy, LW, HC Prerov-Czech 2 (Round 7, Pick 197)
Columbus did a fantastic job of choosing the best available pick when it was their turn. At least three or four will certainly make it to the ice for Columbus in the future. Johnson has the most potential to make it onto the roster. He’s been projected and a top-line forward, and if he can overcome his deficits, he will be difficult to play against. Johnson and Sillinger are thought to be bringing offense and goal-scoring ability, which is something the Blue Jackets desperately need. Ceulemans also is considered to have a good shot as well as being an offensive-minded defenseman.
Best Pick: Kent Johnson
The Blue Jackets had several choices to go with but chose Johnson because of his play-making ability. He has a good wrist shot, and he’s a creative player with raw talent. This past season with the University of Michigan, he had 27 points in 26 games. While not great at defensive play, an area sure to be remedied, he’s not considered a liability in his own end. Johnson has been a consistent player and playmaker on the ice and is known for his good skating and great edgework.
Worst Pick: Guillaume Richard
Despite being highly thought of by scouts and teams, Richard does have a few issues he’ll need to overcome. Most consider him to have a high hockey IQ. However, he does need to work on improving his decision-making skills. Richard used to be known as an offensive defenseman and has been working on trying to improve into a two-way player. At times you can see it in his play, and if he continues to improve, he might become a top-four defenseman. At worst, he could be a third-pairing defenseman.
Sleeper Pick: Ben Boyd
Some might look at Boys, see what he lacks, and easily dismiss him. He may not possess the high-offensive skill that someone like Johnson has; however, you might find a player the Blue Jackets need if you set that aside. Boyd is willing to engage the other team, and has a great forecheck, and isn’t afraid to use it. He’s able to set himself in front of the net, and it isn’t easy to move him out of position. He does his job effectively, and that’s a player worth having on the team.
There’s nothing that the Blue Jackets have done that will give them an advantage over the other teams in their division. However, their planning for the future is looking positive. Despite the veterans on the team, there are a number of young guys making contributions each game. If Columbus keeps building each year with their picks, they’ll be unstoppable in a few years.
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