The Columbus Blue Jackets add another Swiss defenseman in the sixth round of the 2018 NHL Draft.
Jarmo and company certainly saw something they liked early in the sixth round of Saturday’s NHL Draft. Columbus Blue Jackets brass traded away a 2019 fifth round pick to Detroit in order to select Swiss defenseman Tim Berni with the 159th pick. Without reading into it too much, they just barely traded up to snag the 18-year-old Berni.
The 5-11, 175lb. blue liner finished last season playing in eight games for ZSC Lions in Switzerland’s top league, the National League. He didn’t register any points in ZSC’s title run, but he did score 15 points (5G, 10A) with the Lions B-team in the previous 36 games.
According to Swiss Hockey News, Berni just signed a one-year deal to play with ZSC again next season. He will however partake in the Blue Jackets four day developmental camp this June 25-28th.
— swisshockeynews.ch (@SwissHockeyNews) June 23, 2018
Berni is not considered an offensive defenseman but will likely have a few of years to develop into what the Columbus Blue Jackets might hope to be the next, late round steal (see Markus Nutivaara). Jarmo labeled the Swiss D-man a potential “sleeper” pick when asked by NHL.com about the sixth round selection.
The Columbus Blue Jackets now have two Swiss defenseman in the system. Dean Kukan of course just signed a contract with the CBJ. He also represented Switzerland at the World Championships.
Jackets fans now have two players to watch in the NLA. Along with Berni, goaltender Elvis Merzlikins plays for last years runner up in the league, HC Lugano.
Berni moved up multiple rankings charts throughout the 2017-2018 but ultimately landed at #140 according to hockeyprospect.com.