Columbus Blue Jackets: 2017 NHL Draft Review, How Did They Do?

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: Alexandre Texier poses for a portrait after being selected 45th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: Alexandre Texier poses for a portrait after being selected 45th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Finding NHL players in the seventh round is really hard. By my own math during a good stretch of time, it’s about a 5% success rate across the league – from the 2017 draft, seven players picked in the seventh round made it into NHL games. Only two of them wound up played more than 10 games – and likely only one will remain an NHL player.

Seventh round (#210 overall): D Robbie Stucker

This was a home run swing that turned out to be a strike three in the seventh round for the Blue Jackets. Coming out of high school in Minnesota, Stucker was a big kid, standing in at 6’3″, with a lot of upside.

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, PA – SEPTEMBER 29: Robbie Stucker #2 of the Chicago Steel handles the puck during the game against the Lincoln Stars on Day 2 of the USHL Fall Classic at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on September 29, 2017 in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, PA – SEPTEMBER 29: Robbie Stucker #2 of the Chicago Steel handles the puck during the game against the Lincoln Stars on Day 2 of the USHL Fall Classic at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on September 29, 2017 in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

As things go at this point in the draft, you’re trying to project where he might be in four or five years, if everything goes just right. But, this player never developed as the Jackets hoped, and thus was never signed. After being selected, Stucker went on to spend three years with the University of Minnesota, and two more with the University of Vermont.

He did turn pro at the end of this season – with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. Now 24 years old, I think it’s safe to say that Robbie Stucker is no longer an NHL prospect, and that this pick is a complete miss. Seventh round grade: F.

Related Story. Columbus Blue Jackets 2016 Draft Review. light

If we’re giving an overall grade to this draft, it’s not hard to give it a high “B”, or even an “A” grade. Without a first round pick, they came away with at least three NHL players (Texier, Tarasov, Bemstrom), and a tweener (Meyer). In seven picks, with your first one being #45 overall, that’s a really good turnout.

Anytime you’re dealing away your first round picks, you have to have an immense amount of trust in your scouting staff’s ability to find players deeper in the draft. In this year, this team’s scouting staff’s strength is evident. This would have been an easy draft to be reckless with picks, taking all kinds of chances or trading them around to find players here and there. The team was in contention that season, and it seemed like they were trending up for years to come.

Jul 7, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen announces David Jiricek (not pictured) as the number six overall pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 7, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen announces David Jiricek (not pictured) as the number six overall pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

But instead, they worked some serious magic and kept churning quality prospects into the system. Only two of these players never played an NHL game, and the third player who didn’t become an AHL/NHL player, was dealt for a #1 center (though, he was only here briefly). No matter how you shake it down, this was an impressive job by Jarmo Kekalainen and his scouting staff.

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