Columbus Blue Jacket prospect watch: Oiva Keskinen

Oiva Keskinen is a true center prospect, something the Blue Jacket system still needs more of. He had a solid season in Finland's top league this year, and stood out for their World Junior team.

The Blue Jackets were known to make some pretty wild selections in the NHL Draft's 7th round under Jarmo Kekalainen. That held true last summer when the team selected Finnish center Oiva Keskinen, who was in his second year of eligibility.

Notables picked in recent 7th rounds include Markus Nuutivara, Trey Fix-Wolansky, Tyler Angle and Martin Rysavy. All of these guys have shortcomings, but in a lot of cases, the team picked guys who had projectable NHL talent - if not crazy upside.

There were some obvious swings for the fences over the years as well; such as Olivier Leblanc and Calvin Thurkauf. But one thing that remained steady: the Jackets seemed to find players that nobody else really had their eye on.

Like Nuutivara, Keskinen is a late drafted player out of Finland. But the comparison has to stop there because Nuutivara was a defenseman, and Keskinen is a center.

Keskinen has pretty good size at 6'0" and 180 pounds, and a penchant for picking up assists. This season in Finland's top league, he scored 7 goals and 20 assists (27 points) in 54 games.

So far, he has 2 goals and 5 points in 9 playoff games for Tappara. They have a 2-1 series lead in the Liiga semifinals. Overall, that's a pretty productive year for a 20 year old in Liiga - it's not an easy league to put up consistent offensive numbers.

He also played in a prominent role with Finland's World Junior Championship team - including on the top power-play unit. He scored 2 goals and 11 points in 12 games for the Finns, who came in fourth place in the tournament.

The best playstyle comparison I can come up with here will be very familiar to Jacket fans. He reminds me a lot of Alex Wennberg, really in all facets. He skates similarly, and plays that same kind of pass-first style that we got so used to in Columbus.

Also like Wennberg, he has a shot that I would call "underrated", but he could stand to use it more. If nothing else, shoot the puck every now and then to keep the opposition guessing.

The good news is, he's an above average passer, so he can make some plays. I was a little bit surprised by his skill when he played against his peers, he's more talented than you would expect from a guy taken so late in the draft.

With a new GM coming on board, my expectation is that Keskinen will remain in Finland for the foreseeable future, to continue to develop his game.

But, this is a prospect that should absolutely be on the radar for the Blue Jackets. Should he decide to come to North America, he has some projectable skill that could make him an NHL player. I'm interested to see how he produces in Liiga next year, where he'll no longer be a rookie.