Luca Del Bel Belluz, 6-1, 180 pounds

Mississauga S..."/> Luca Del Bel Belluz, 6-1, 180 pounds

Mississauga S..."/> Luca Del Bel Belluz, 6-1, 180 pounds

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Blue Jackets Select Luca Del Bel Belluz #44 Overall

Jul 8, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Luca Del Bel Belluz gives an interview after being selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 8, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Luca Del Bel Belluz gives an interview after being selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /
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Luca Del Bel Belluz, 6-1, 180 pounds

Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

2nd round (#44 overall), 2022 NHL draft

Playstyle comparisons: Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky

NHL upside: Second or third line center

Professional ETA: 2023

After loading up on defensemen in the first round, the Blue Jackets used their lone second round pick to select two way center Luca Del Bel Belluz from the Ontario Hockey League. Seemingly high on the CBJ radar, Del Bel Belluz was ranked anywhere from the middle of the first round, to the late second round by most scouting services. With the potential to become a middle-six center, this is a project-type pick that could pay off nicely.

A late 2003 birthday, Luca Del Bel Belluz was able to get in almost a full season of OHL hockey before the COVID pandemic shut the league down, but scored just one goal and six points in 58 games played in 2019-20. He did not play in the 2020-21 season due to the OHL’s shutdown, but he stormed onto the scene as a draft eligible player this year, scoring 30 goals and 76 points in 68 games played, rocketing up the draft boards and becoming a second round draft pick.

MISSISSAUGA, ON – OCTOBER 18: Luca Del Bel Belluz #73 of the Mississauga Steelheads skates against the Niagara Icedogs during game action on October 18, 2019 at Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
MISSISSAUGA, ON – OCTOBER 18: Luca Del Bel Belluz #73 of the Mississauga Steelheads skates against the Niagara Icedogs during game action on October 18, 2019 at Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images) /

Del Bel Belluz is a well-rounded player offensively, equally capable of scoring goals or setting up teammates with passes. He has very good offensive instincts, with a knack for finding the puck in dangerous areas. He has great hands, which allows him to weave through traffic and create chances off the rush or the cycle. The biggest knock on Luca is his skating, but even so, he uses his instincts to keep up with the play. He will need to continue to hone his two-way game; but once he fills out his big frame, I think it will come naturally to him because of the other things he does so well.

Heading back to the OHL for his 19-year old season seems like the only play for Del Bel Belluz, as I don’t see him making the Blue Jackets roster this fall. But, as one of the oldest players in the draft, he will be eligible for AHL hockey after next season, and I would expect him to debut with the Cleveland Monsters next spring, once his OHL career concludes.

This is one player that I think will benefit greatly from the AHL, as he doesn’t have the kind of elite skills to make the jump directly to the NHL. He will also need to get stronger and develop the secondary areas of his game, while being allowed the freedom to produce offensively. But, I think he could turn out just as good as some of the players selected in the middle of the first round.

KITCHENER, ONTARIO – MARCH 23: Luca Del Bel Belluz #73 of Team Red poses for a team photo prior to the 2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on March 23, 2022 in Kitchener, Ontario. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
KITCHENER, ONTARIO – MARCH 23: Luca Del Bel Belluz #73 of Team Red poses for a team photo prior to the 2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on March 23, 2022 in Kitchener, Ontario. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /

In the end, he’s a CBJ type player that I can see becoming a fan favorite. I watched Brandon Dubinsky in the Western Hockey League for several years, and every time I watch Del Bel Belluz play, I cannot help but think back to Dubinsky’s junior play. He may not have the grit of Dubinsky or Jenner, but he sure looks like a talented two-way center, that can be used in all situations. If he can become that kind of player for the Blue Jackets, this will turn out to be a fantastic find in the second round.