Columbus Blue Jacket Prospect Watch: Mikael Pyyhtia

Mikael Pyyhtia doesn't get the same recognition as a lot of the other top prospects for the Blue Jackets, but he could still have some untapped NHL upside.
Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets
Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

Mikael Pyyhtia is finally spending an entire year in North America. If you told me we've been waiting on this guy forever, it would be hard to disagree. The Jackets drafted him in the fourth round (#114 overall) all the way back in 2020.

That was the same draft where they selected Yegor Chinakhov - who is in his third NHL season. So, in that regard, it has been a really long time.

It seems even longer when you consider that Pyyhtia is just now spending his first full season in the Jacket system. This year he's playing with the Cleveland Monsters.

After a slow start, he's come on stronger lately and finds himself 6th on the team in scoring with 23 points in 44 games. His 17 assists are third on the team, behind AHL All-Stars Trey Fix-Wolansky (29) Jake Christiansen (23).

Pyyhtia has shown a penchant for being effective up and down the lineup. He's a speedy player who can distribute the puck, and he also has a very good shot. He has just enough skill to be able to keep pace with players at the top of the lineup; and a solid enough overall game that allows him to play further down as well.

I don't see him being a huge offensive contributor in the NHL. But, he should be able to hold his own and play somewhere in the bottom six, with the ability to fill in further up when called upon. Honestly, I think we can view him as another Emil Bemstrom-type utility player.

The difference between Bemstrom and Pyyhtia, is that Mikael is being allowed to develop further at lower levels. This could lead to more confidence, and a higher offensive ceiling. But even if he "just" becomes a utility forward that they can plug in and out of the lineup, that will be fine.

They don't need Pyyhtia to be a top prospect or power-play specialist. He's a depth prospect, and should be viewed as a future depth player.

I would imagine that he'll play out the rest of this season - and possibly all of next season - in the AHL. He could compete for an NHL job next fall, but that will be a tall task for a Columbus team that is deep on the wings.

The Monsters will benefit from his professional experience, scoring ability, and two-way game; especially as the team continues to see a youthful infusion.