Columbus Blue Jackets 2024 Draft pick Charlie Elick is a throwback defenseman

The Blue Jackets drafted an old school defensive defenseman with the first of two second round picks at last weekend's NHL Draft.
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Candice Ward/GettyImages

Once you start to dive into the second round of the NHL Draft, there are a variety of directions you can go. Finding success in this round (or in the rounds beyond) is really what separates strong scouting departments, from weaker scouting departments.

Often, players available in this range of the draft come with a question mark (or question marks). Sometimes, it's that a player needs to mature one aspect of their game or another. Or, in the case of a guy like Charlie Elick, there just isn't a crazy high ceiling. But this kid can play.

Elick is a bit of a throwback to defensemen of yesteryear. At 6'4" and over 200 pounds, he plays the game like one of those rough and tumble WHL defensemen your old man used to tell you about. The best part is: physicality isn't the only name of the game here. He is a terrific skater, which allows him to combine old age and new age talents.

His combination of size and skating make him a pretty solid all-around defender. He's able to keep pace with smaller, speedier forwards. He can also win battles in the corners and in front of the net. He's equally strong using his stick to break up plays, or laying the hammer on an attacking player with a big hit.

The only real drawback to his game is the lack of offense. He does get creative from time to time, but he often chooses to make the simple/safe play instead of pushing for more offense. This season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, he scored a modest 4 goals and 27 points in 65 games.

As such, he was given a late first/early second round grade by most scouting services. The Jackets plucked him right in the middle of that range (#36 overall).

Unlike some of the players picked around him, Elick doesn't have one standout trait and a game that needs a bunch of work. Sure, he'll need some polishing around the edges. But, I think he's a safe bet to play in the NHL in some capacity - it just won't likely be on the top defense pair.

I see him more as a guy who will develop into a second or third pairing, shutdown type role at the top of his game. He'll eat up heavily defensive minutes and play on a penalty kill unit. Elick will also throw his weight around, keep opponents honest, and chip in the occasional points here and there. And, because of his skating, he'll be able to play with almost anyone.

Really, I see him as an ideal partner for a more skilled guy like Denton Mateychuk. If these two guys can form a strong future second pairing for the Blue Jackets down the road, this team will be in great shape. I like this pick for the Jackets; Elick fills a big void in the system.