Columbus stole the show on Friday just hours before the NHL Draft when Seth Jones was traded to Chicago. In the package Columbus sent their number 32 pick and got Chicago’s number 12 pick and a second-round pick. The second-round pick was flipped in a trade for Carolina’s Jake Bean.
That left Columbus with three picks in the first 25 picks of the draft. Columbus did not disappoint with their picks on Friday. On Saturday, Columbus rounded out the draft by selecting six more position players.
Two Centers in the First Round
With the fifth overall pick in the NHL Draft, the Blue Jackets selected Kent Johnson. Johnson was the fourth Michigan Wolverines player selected in the first five picks of the draft.
As a freshman for the Wolverines, Johnson managed to average a point per game, tallying nine goals and 18 assists in 26 games. His highlight reel showcased a lot of skill. The only downside to his skill is his size. Despite being listed at 6-foot-1, Johnson only weighs 168 pounds.
If Columbus hopes Johnson can be their next top-line center in the future, Johnson may need to hit the weight room.
With pick number 12 in the draft, Columbus drafted another center. Cole Sillinger, son of former Blue Jacket Mike Sillinger, was selected with the pick. Unlike Johnson, Sillinger offers a little more size. Sillinger is currently listed at 6-foot-0 and weighing 201 pounds.
Sillinger spent his 2020-2021 campaign in the USHL with the Sioux Falls Stampede. He posted 24 goals and 22 assists in 31 games with them. Columbus is hoping one of these players can be the top-line center of the future with the other potentially playing a role as a winger.
Columbus’ GM Jarmo Kekalainen played it safe with their first two picks in the draft. Kekalainen didn’t seem to sway away with what the experts thought and didn’t go off the board with his picks. There didn’t seem to be much risk associated with Johnson or Sillinger. Both players could have a major role for the team in the next couple of years.
Reloading the Blue Line
Four of Columbus’ nine draft picks were used on defensemen. That doesn’t include the additions of Adam Boqvist and Jake Bean. Many consider the defensemen to be the one area Columbus excels in. During the NHL Draft, they utilized their draft picks to reload at the position.
Corson Ceulemans was selected with Columbus’ third first-round selection at pick 25. Ceulemans is an offensive-minded, right-handed defenseman who is set to play at the University of Wisconsin next season. At the World Juniors, he suited up for Canada’s U18 team where he posted eight points in six games and a plus/minus rating of 11.
In rounds three and four, Columbus selected a defenseman in each of the rounds. In round three, Czech defenseman Stanislav Svozil was selected. Svozil provides Columbus with a two-way defender. A few analysts had Svozil with a first-round grade.
In the fourth round, Columbus added Guillaume Richard who is planning on playing at Providence College next season. He will provide Columbus with another two-way defender who isn’t afraid to join the offensive rush. Columbus also added Russian defenseman Nikolai Makarov in the fifth round.
Cover Image Courtesy of Eric Bronson/Michigan Photography.