Columbus Blue Jackets 2024 draft pick Luca Marrelli is a toolsy puck moving defenseman

The Blue Jackets picked up another big defenseman in the third round of the draft. This time, they opted for skill.
Niagara IceDogs v Oshawa Generals
Niagara IceDogs v Oshawa Generals / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages
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The Blue Jackets made it clear at this year's draft that they wanted to get bigger on the blue line as an organization. After using the first of two second round picks to draft big Charlie Elick; the Jackets selected Oshawa Generals blue liner Luca Marrelli in the third round.

Unlike Elick, who is a throwback physical player; Marrelli is a more modern type of defenseman. He has good size at 6'2", 185 pounds, and he can throw the body around physically; but that's not the part of his game that the Blue Jackets took notice of.

Marrelli is a talented, active puck handler; who skates really well and has a knack for putting up assists. He has good vision in the offensive zone and was a key part of the power-play for the OHL's Oshawa Generals this season.

In some regards, he reminds me a little bit of Denton Mateychuk with his ability to move off the puck. Marrelli finds open ice, then looks for passing lanes when he has the puck on his stick.

The lone knock here is that he tends to be too pass heavy, often seeking out a third or fourth pass option when the shooting lane is there. This is something that can be worked out of his game for sure. He just needs to be more selfish.

Defensively, he has a good stick. He reads and times plays well, using his stick to break up opportunities. As mentioned earlier, he can throw the body around here and there as well. I've seen some call him Oshawa's most consistent defender this season, which is high praise because he was on a really good team.

Marrelli is a bit of a project piece, but that's just fine. The Blue Jackets have a deep enough blue line and prospect pool, that they don't need to rush anyone along.

To be honest, this feels a lot like the Stanislav Svozil selection in 2021. I can see Marrelli being a big riser after the draft, because of the tools he has at his disposal; and the fact that he'll be playing on the same power-play unit as Anaheim's third overall pick, Beckett Sennecke.

In time, like Svozil, I think Marrelli has the potential to become a bottom-four defenseman in the NHL. He'll be a puck mover who can play in all situations, and possibly a second power-play unit. I like this pick by the Jackets in this range, it seems like they found great value here.

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