Columbus Blue Jackets: How Has Jarmo Done at the NHL Draft?

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26: Zach Werenski poses after being selected eighth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 26, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26: Zach Werenski poses after being selected eighth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 26, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Finding players in the last three rounds of the draft is far from a fine science. Often, you’re taking players with big question marks and hoping you can develop them to move past those question marks. It’s a real crap shoot with the final 100 or so picks in the draft.

The Jackets held only four fifth round picks over the five years in question – netting 0 NHL players. The league average during this time is 10.6% (16 players), but for some reason, it’s a round that the Jackets just haven’t had success to this point.

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The misses: Tyler Bird (2014), Sam Ruopp, Veeti Vainio (2015), Kale Howarth (2017). Fifth round grade: F.

The sixth round of the draft has been slightly better, with the Jackets finding one player out of five picks (20%). The NHL average drops all the way down to 7% (11 players) for this round, so having a success story here is great. He’s one of the better sixth round hits in that time; and they have another one that’s a fringe player here.

The hit: Vladislav Gavrikov (2015). The misses: Markus Soberg (2013), Peter Thome (2016), Jonathan Davidsson, Carson Meyer* (2017). (*could still be an NHL player). Sixth round grade: B

Nov 10, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov (4) in the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gaelen Morse-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 10, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov (4) in the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gaelen Morse-USA TODAY Sports /

The seventh round is even more bleak for NHL teams, with just 8 players plucked from that round in five drafts (5%). The Jackets have one of them, after making 5 picks over that span (20% success rate). It’s really hard to complain when a pick in this round works out, even if they “only” become a depth piece.

The hit: Markus Nutivaara (2015). The misses: Peter Quenneville (2013), Olivier Leblanc (2014), Calvin Thurkauf (2016), Robbie Stucker (2017). Seventh round grade: C+

If we go through the NHL drafts from 2018-2022, I really like what the Jackets have done. We can’t compare the numbers here in a fair way because a lot of guys from these drafts – yes, even as far back as 2018 – are still making their way to the NHL. But, we do start to get an idea of how the Jacket prospects are faring.

Jun 22, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Liam Foudy poses for a photo with team representatives after being selected as the number eighteen overall pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 22, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Liam Foudy poses for a photo with team representatives after being selected as the number eighteen overall pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

In 2018, the team made six picks, beginning with Liam Foudy at #18 overall. A known project pick at the time, Foudy finally seems to have found his way into the NHL, albeit in a bottom-six role. The upcoming season is a big one for him to show that he belongs – or we may have to look back at this as a missed pick.

Fortunately, the Jackets seem to have hit an out of the ballpark home run with their second round pick, nabbing Kirill Marchenko with pick #49. He finally made it over to North America this season, and by the end of the year, sure looked like a core piece of this team for the foreseeable future.

Jan 7, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Kirill Marchenko (right) celebrates with teammates after scoring his hat-trick goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 7, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Kirill Marchenko (right) celebrates with teammates after scoring his hat-trick goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

They have two clear misses from this draft: forward Marcus Karlberg (3rd round, pick #80) and goaltender Veini Vehvilainen (6th round, #173). But, another 6th round pick (#159), Tim Berni, sure looked like he could be a player this season – though he does need more seasoning. And, Trey Fix-Wolansky was the team’s last pick in the draft (7th round, #204) – he’s dominated the AHL, and with his pesky style and scoring touch, could still be a good NHL player as well. This draft is on track to be a nice win.