June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; General view of the stage prior to the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Morning Skate: 6/30/13

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Today is the day that we have all been waiting for, the day Jarmo Kekalainen gets to prove his worth. This is the reason that Kekalainen was brought in, to help build the Blue Jackets from the ground up. The 2013 NHL Draft will be his first step in applying his touch to the already formed foundation.

Yesterday our team finished up their parts of the Draft Day Predictions, here are some of highlights:

Part Three (Matt Sexton):

Columbus needs more offense. The real question will be whether that offense will come through this draft, free agency or trades. If Columbus were to decide to trade some draft picks to move up in the draft, I believe five is as high as they could go. Even moving up to five or six would be difficult.

If the Jackets can acquire offensive talent outside of the draft, Columbus’ next target in the draft may be Finnish defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. A two-way player who brings scoring and a physical style of play, Ristolainen would fit in nicely with fellow young defenseman Ryan Murray.

Part Four (Peter Dewar):

As for the Blue Jackets, I think they will draft. Young talent is the core of any team because it lasts. And with this team that is searching for their identity (I mean, come on guys, we don’t even have a captain right now), young talent is a must have.

Now, who might they draft? Well, there’s two players I think would fit best in Columbus: Max Domi of the London Knights or Ryan Hartman of the Plymouth Whalers.

In the end, I think the Jackets select Ryan Hartman because of his grittiness and ability to produce offense. His numbers weren’t as good as Domi’s, but they certainly weren’t bad, and in today’s game, a gritty player can make a huge difference.

Today could be memorable or unfortunately this draft could all be forgotten because of the impending negotiations with Sergei Bobrovsky, keep your fingers cross folks.

Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Draft

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