One thing we know about Jarmo and his scouting staff, is that they aren’t afraid to buck trends or take a player “off the board”.
With that said, they have clearly stated that they would be using the third overall pick at next month’s draft, to land their future top line center. That means it will almost certainly be one of Leo Carlsson, Will Smith, or if Anaheim happens to go off the board – Adam Fantilli.
The Blue Jackets Select Leo Carlsson Third Overall
Alright, so this totally isn’t a bold prediction. It’s not off the board, controversial, or shocking at all. It’s exactly what we expect, and that’s really okay. In fact, it’s what they did last year when they selected David Jiricek sixth overall. A lot of people were clamoring for Cutter Gautheir to fall into our laps, but thank goodness we got Jiricek, who sure looks like one of the top defense prospects in hockey. We’ll get our center this time around.
By selecting Leo Carlsson, the Jackets will have a new #1 prospect in their system. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that the moment this pick is made, Carlsson becomes the best prospect this team has ever had. In a lot of drafts, this guy is a clear #1 pick; he’s one of the best prospects to come out of Sweden in a long time, and he can immediately play in the NHL, should they choose to keep him around next season.
With that being said, in my opinion they’re better suited letting him marinate for a year either back in Sweden, or in the American Hockey League. He’s a mature player who has the size and strength to step right into the lineup and be a difference maker. But, letting him play and learn to dominate at a lower level, could be the key to unlocking his full potential.
Imagine coming into the 2024-25 season with a team that competed hard this season on the backs of improving young talent – with one of the best young centers in the world ready to go full-time. You need a guy like this to build a perennial Cup contending team, and by making this selection, the Jackets vault themselves into a level we’ve never seen before.