Well folks, my two day version of Christmas has ended with the Jackets adding seven new prospects to the organization. So without further adieu let’s meet the newest Blue Jackets:
Ah!! The Jackets 5th round pick that they traded to Edmonton for Justin Schultz at the trade deadline is now back with the Blue Jackets with the Oilers have signing Nikita Nikitin. Here’s who I think the Jackets should take with the pick so consider this me adding it to my mock draft that came out earlier this week.
Hello all! It’s the greatest part of the NHL offseason – the NHL Entry Draft (Ok maybe just to me). I’ve said multiple times what the CBJ need so I’m not going to waste any time – let’s get drafting. Here are my predictions for this year’s draft that will occur this weekend in Philadelphia.
How do, all! As you know, I’ve been saying that the CBJ should focus on their defensive prospect depth in this year’s draft despite the fact that, from what I’ve gathered, the best player available in the first round will more than likely be a forward. As I pointed out in my preview, the CBJ have used 16 of their last 19 picks on forwards or goalies including six of last year’s seven picks (all six being forwards) with four of those picks being among the teams top prospects. But more importantly, I say this because of the organization’s overall lack of depth at the position.
When Aaron Portzline tweeted where the Jackets would pick in the first round of the NHL draft he thought it would bum out CBJ fans because it made them face the reality that it’s now officially the off-season. To me it said “well better get to work prospect boy”. As I said in my state of the prospect pool post, my knowledge is limited right now (the troubles of following a play-off team) but that’s nothing a few hours with my hockeyprospect.com blackbook can’t fix. The Jackets will pick 16th in the NHL Draft which ties their lowest original pick. (The team was supposed to pick 16th in 2009 but traded down twice to eventually pick John Moore at 21.)
To recap the picks currently available to the Jackets:
1st Round 16th
2nd Round 47th
Could Get Toronto’s 2nd Round Pick (Anaheim’s Choice) 14 or 15
3rd Round 77th
3rd Round Edmonton Pick From LA(Scrivens trade)
4th Round 107th
5th lost in Schultz Trade
6th lost in Gaborik NYR deal – pick later traded to Minnesota
7th Round 197th
2015(<-I gotta be me ;) )
2nd Toronto’s from LA if not used in 14
When you think about it, hockey really is a funny game. In what other sport (other than boxing and MMA), is fighting a largely accepted element — penalized, but done so with a wink and a nod? It is a sport where failing to tie down your sweater is penalized more harshly than pummeling your opponent and where elementary safeguards, such as helmets, goalie masks and visors have inched their way into the game over the grudging “Hrrumphs” of grizzled veterans. Where else do players and coaches talk about playing the game “the right way”? For that matter, in what other sporting endeavor do the participants wear “sweaters”?
No, hockey is steeped in tradition, and surrenders to progress with great reluctance. It’s players are — for the most part — polite, soft-spoken and subservient to The Game. In many ways, hockey is more akin to golf than any of the teams sports, with the ceremony attendant to winning The Cup not far removed from hoisting The Claret Jug at St. Andrews. Of the team sports, baseball comes closest to that sense of tradition, but still falls somewhat short.
Tradition is a great thing, but sometimes it crosses the line into bias. A large segment of the hockey population relies on tradition to cast aspersions on those “pretenders” who would dare to join the fraternity of hockey cities. After all, hockey is the birthright of Canada and The Original Six, and the rest are largely pretenders. Sure, Minnesota and Buffalo are readily accepted, as they are almost in Canada anyway. The Flyers get admitted to “the club” by virtue of sheer nastiness — or “Old Time Hockey” — as the Hansen Brothers would call it. The Blues get a pass as well, due to the illustrious names passing through that franchise since 1967. New Jersey and the Islanders are accepted, both because they fall in the geographical “sweet spot” of the NHL, and their ability to hoist The Cup. Other than that, however, there is a significant segment of the hockey community that views hockey in “non-traditional” markets as a fool’s errand, and would much rather see a 16 team NHL than cater to the likes of Phoenix, Dallas, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Nashville, Florida . . . and Columbus. Peruse the message boards, listen to talks shows from Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver and you will here how these cities do not “deserve” franchises. Even cities with demonstrated success — such as Anaheim and Los Angeles — receive only modest recognition. This segment points to revenue numbers, attendance figures and the twice-failed experiment in Atlanta as evidence that expansion outside The North is futile. The lack of a “Hockey Tradition” is deemed fatal in these cities.
A few weeks ago I had a good back and forth with a commenter here at The Union Blue regarding the Blue Jackets selection of Nick Moutrey in the 4th round of this year’s NHL draft. Now my contention was not that Nick Moutrey is not a good hockey player. I don’t contend to be intimately familiar with his game, as I have only seen him play via stream a couple of times over the last two years. Nor do I contend that Nick Moutrey will be a bust that won’t sniff the NHL. In fact, I think it’s quite the opposite. I really think he has a legit shot to be a player who sees ice time with the Blue Jackets. My contention is that Moutrey will likely see time in Columbus on the fourth line, or maybe the third line if he develops well. That isn’t a bad return on a 4th round pick. I just think it isn’t the ideal use of a 4th round pick.
This year, the NHL draft was all in one day for the first time since 2006 and the Blue Jackets entered the day with seven picks and ended up leaving with eight (after making a trade for picks with Pittsburgh). The day was certainly a day of firsts for the franchise, not even counting Jarmo being the first ever European GM to make a pick. So let’s get going and meet the newest Blue Jackets.
1-14 Alexander Wennberg-Djurgardens IF (Allsvenkan)-Will play with Frolunda HC (Swedish Hockey League) this season
CS Rank 5 Euro Skater Stats 46GP 14-18-32 +10 14PIM
TWITTER ACCOUNT @wenniss
To start off the draft of firsts, the Jackets went to Sweden for the first time ever in the first round selecting Alexander Wennberg of Djurgardens IF of Allsvenkan (Sweden’s second league). Wennberg scored 32 points in 46 games which was third among junior players and his 14 goals put him in second place amongst junior players. Wennberg is a 2-way center who’s most effective along the walls and who wins a lot of board battles. He is at his best when playing a physical game and outworking opponents to win battles and can be tough to play against in front of the net. He also has a great ability to keep his head up while engaging in a puck battles, making moves around a defender and can shake off opponents with twists and turns near the board with agility. One thing that Wennberg can help with is the “goofy goal” department. Against Leksands, Wennberg blocks a shot and starts a odd man rush and while driving to the net with the puck ending up in Alexander’s pants and dropping into the goal. Alexander played for Sweden at the last world championships starting on the fourth line but earned a role in the top six with his play. Alexander will play next season with Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League. He’ll join Jackets prospects Oscar Dansk and Daniel Zaar at Sweden’s World Junior Camp and also take part in the tournament in Lake Placid.
I spent most of Sunday sitting on my couch, watching the NHL Draft, and complaining about the Blue Jackets picks in the Draft Live Blog. With a little time, a little perspective, and some thought on all the picks, I am quite a bit more pleased with who the the CBJ ended up with. I’m still very disappointed they passed on Hunter Shinkaruk (twice!). But I let that influence my thoughts on who they actually did pick. A little video and stats research later, and I am much more at peace with the newest members of the Jackets organization.
Also influencing my disappointment at the time was the fact that there were no moves made for current NHLers. The team is not any better on paper today than they were on Sunday morning, and that is a little disconcerting to me. They came into this offseason with a lot of future assets, a lot of cap room, and the ability to outbid many teams for a couple of good, but slightly overpaid, NHLers. They didn’t do this, and now those future assets have been devalued. Whether it entirely makes sense or not, the 14th pick was worth a lot more in trade on Sunday afternoon than Alexander Wennberg would be worth in a trade. At this point, I just don’t see it being likely that any of the Blue Jackets young assets move (outside of possibly Ryan Johansen). But these are topics for another day, as my free agency preview will be coming later this week. For now, here are my current thoughts on each of he Blue Jackets draft picks. Continue reading…
The curtain rose on Draft Day 2013 with more subplots than your average bodice-ripper from the Blue Jackets’s perspective. Would Bobrovsky be signed? If not, would it be likely enough to avoid a big deal for a net minder? If not likely, how would the club fill the void? What deals could be done for scoring help? What caliber of prospects would be around for the Columbus picks? Who shot J.R.? Oops, sorry, got carried away there . . . (If you don’t get it, Google it, kids.)
Scene I — The Bobrovsky Reversals
The saga surrounding the re-signing of Sergei Bobrovsky had all the elements of a Cold War spy epic — Russian intrigue, a mysterious, little-known agent, conflicting messages and predictions of dire consequences if a negotiated peace could not be found.
As Sunday progressed, the pace of the drama escalated, waned, changed directions entirely — twice — and was then followed by a long and uneasy quiet. While the climax did not come until earlier today, by the time the draft wound down at 10:30 PM last night, the outcome seemed clear. The Coach was on top of it all the way, as documented in his Draft Day Live Blog. Continue reading…