Columbus Blue Jackets: Revisiting the 2000 NHL Draft

The Columbus Blue Jackets drafted Rostislav Klesla in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, while the top of the order would’ve remained mostly the same. Columbus’s pick would’ve certainly changed in a modern re-draft.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a poor drafting record, especially from the beginning of the franchise with the Doug MacLean years through the years of Scott Howson. After a recent NHL Network segment where they re-drafted the 1989 NHL draft, it made me wonder, how would the Blue Jackets draft history would have looked with what we know now?

In 2000, the New York Islanders start off the draft with a goalie, but not Rick DiPietro who they took first overall that year. Instead they would take Henrik Lundqvist and avoid almost two decades of having to stare down one of the best goalies in the uniform of their rivals, the New York Rangers.

Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik would still go off the board to Atlanta and Minnesota before reaching Columbus’s pick at four.

The two names the Blue Jackets would consider would be Justin Williams, currently of the Carolina Hurricanes, and a now familiar face of Scott Hartnell.

Both players are solid on the offensive and defensive side of the game, however Hartnell’s style of play favors physicality and strength compared to Williams’ speed and agility. To this point in their careers, Justin Williams has the slight advantage in point production and far less penalty minutes.

On top of that, his playoff performances would certainly increase his value to the point where Columbus would have no choice but to take him at 4th overall. If Doug MacLean could go back in time and change his choice at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft for the Columbus Blue Jackets, he certainly would have to go with “Mr. Game Seven”.

The 2000 draft will be remembered as a goalie draft that lacked in top end talent and depth. Only nine of the 293 players would end up being NHL All-Stars. Four of those were goalies including DiPietro, Lundqvist, and Ilya Bryzgalov.

In hindsight, many of the Columbus woes could’ve been easily avoided with some thoughtful consideration when it came to drafting. However they often went for the risky pick, which although it had a potential to be a high reward player, the high risk would prevail.