Why Recent Columbus Blue Jackets Draftees Are Flourishing


The 2014 NHL draft has wrapped up. Jarmo Kekalainen has made his selections for the Columbus Blue Jackets, in hopes they will one day be the face and the future of the franchise. (Try saying that three times fast). These young men, now property of an actual NHL team(!!) will work relentlessly to develop their potential into one day becoming said face and future.

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As the NHL draft was going on, I began to think of drafts in Columbus Blue Jackets past, about who materialized and who faded into the background of independent hockey leagues. I began to think about the likes of Nikita Filatov, Jakub Voracek, and Derrick Brassard in particular. After those players gave me a bit of a scare, more pleasant names came to the forefront: Ryan Johansen, Boone Jenner, and Ryan Murray.

To the first three: I’ll be fair. Derrick Brassard is a great player. He has finally blossomed into the elite talent he was supposed to be. After years of frustration and an inability to be that player, Columbus shipped him off to New York. Once Brassard landed in the big apple, it all changed.

Out of nowhere Derrick actually became a consistent threat. From there, a superstar. How was that possible? He wasn’t that guy in Columbus! Seasons upon seasons had passed and he had always been stuck, never able to break the mold of mediocracy. He was never a failure, no, but he most certainly wasn’t this good.

What changed?

Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Winning. Being apart of an organization that expects it, that demands it. Playing in a city and in a culture where greatness is supposed to happen, where greatness doesn’t come as a surprise. It’s the same story with Voracek was sent to the Flyers for he-who-must-not-be-named. Jake would go scoreless streakers that lasted weeks. The experts saw his potential. So where was it? Inside him, screaming to be let out.

Now onto the last three draftees mentioned: Ryan Johansen, Boone Jenner, and Ryan Murray. What do all three of these players have in common? They’re all on the roster for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the same team who in fact made the playoffs and were one goal away from pushing the Pittsburgh Penguins to a game 7.

So what changed?

Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

What changed in Columbus in order for Johansen, Jenner, and Murray to thrive and Brassard and Voracek to stand still? You guessed it: winning. The Columbus Blue Jackets are no longer an organization that you go to to get stuck in the sand of development. It’s a winning franchise now.

Johansen looked like he was on the brink of being labelled another failed draft pick until the pieces around him got better. Steve Mason vanished. His replacement? Vezina-winning net minder Sergei Bobrovsky. Lord Voldemort was gone. Jack Johnson took over for him. Brandon Dubinsky showed up and the rest is history.

The development was even quicker for Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner. An injury was the only thing that kept Ryan Murray out of the line up for the first season. While he was absent? One of the most successful seasons in franchise history and a glimmer of hope for the future. It was all Murray needed to see. His rookie season saw him become one of the most sound defenseman in the league. A franchise player.

More from Blue Jackets News

What about Boone Jenner? What about him? 16 goals in his rookie campaign. ‘Nuff said. The recent changes in the Columbus culture have made this organization into a winning one. The team is young and most importantly: it’s a team player want to play for (see:

Nathan Horton


Scott Hartnell

) and a team where draftees can be proud to put on their team’s sweater. You couldn’t say that in the days of Derrick Brassard and Jakub Voracek. That’s why they stood still. But now? It’s a whole new ball game. Congratulations, new Columbus Blue Jackets draft picks. I think you’re going to like it here.