2022 CBJ Draft Options: Using the Picks

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - JULY 23: With the 12th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets select Cole Sillinger during the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - JULY 23: With the 12th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets select Cole Sillinger during the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Feb 9, 2022; Beijing, China; Anton Reto Berra of Switzerland and Raphael Diaz of Switzerland in action with Dmitrii Voronkov of the Russian Olympic Committee in MenÕs Ice Hockey Group B play during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at National Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David W Cerny/Reuters-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2022; Beijing, China; Anton Reto Berra of Switzerland and Raphael Diaz of Switzerland in action with Dmitrii Voronkov of the Russian Olympic Committee in MenÕs Ice Hockey Group B play during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at National Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David W Cerny/Reuters-USA TODAY Sports /

Can the Blue Jackets find another fourth round gem like Dmitry Voronkov?

Still with picks remaining in the second (#44), third (#96 – from TB), fourth (#109), and seventh (#203) rounds, the club has some strong ammunition for day 2 of the draft. If I have one wish for the entire draft, it’s that Lane Hutson is the pick at #44.

Though just 5-8 and 160 pounds, I think he’s the most skilled defenseman in the entire draft and I can see him as a huge riser after the fact. If he were even two or three inches taller, I think he goes top-10 easily. He’s a terrific skater with high end vision and an incredible skillset. Even at his size, I think he can be a top-4 defenseman in the NHL.

PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 17: Lane Hutson #23 of Team White skates up the ice in the first period of the USA Hockey All-American Game at USA Hockey Arena on January 17, 2022 in Plymouth, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 17: Lane Hutson #23 of Team White skates up the ice in the first period of the USA Hockey All-American Game at USA Hockey Arena on January 17, 2022 in Plymouth, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images) /

With their remaining picks, I would expect the club to select at least one goaltender. It’s hard to forecast who that may be, and I think it will be in the later rounds. They have found value in those rounds – all three of their currently rostered goalies were picked in the third round or later (Elvis Merzlikins, Joonas Korpisalo, Daniil Tarasov).

While not loaded with elite level, franchise type players as some drafts in the past have been, this draft is pretty deep and I think the Jackets can come away with good value in the third and fourth rounds. For this reason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add more mid-late round picks if they get the opportunity, whether it’s trading down a few spots to add a later round pick, or dealing from positions of strength on the roster (Emil Bemstrom?).

One last thing that should be mentioned this year, due to world events, is the Russian factor. I think there are several guys with first round abilities, that will fall deep into the draft. Should we see a player like Ivan Miroshnichenko fall into the third round or further, I think you have to take your chances. His stock was already falling due to a Hodgkins Lymphoma diagnosis – but he’s on the mend, and at one point was considered a top-5 lock for this draft. Imagine this guy coming along in 2-3 years, joining the roster right when the team is ready to contend.

While I like to dream about first round talent falling into our laps in the third or fourth round, it’s really not that likely. The later rounds usually are a crapshoot, but the scouting department in Columbus is one of the best in the league at finding value with picks in rounds 4-7. If the team can impress the way they did at the 2021 draft, their rebuild will indeed be a quick one.