Columbus Blue Jackets 2024 draft pick Luke Ashton was the biggest defenseman of them all

The sixth and final pick made by the Blue Jackets saw them yet again looking at a big defenseman. When they picked Luke Ashton, he became the biggest of the whole class.
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Candice Ward/GettyImages

The Blue Jackets picked just one forward through the first five rounds of the 2024 NHL Draft, so when their sixth round pick was approaching, one had to believe they would look at drafting another.

That didn't turn out to be the case. The Jackets picked their fourth defenseman on day two of the draft, snatching Luke Ashton from the BCHL's Langley Rivermen. At first glance, it's easy to see why they stuck with picking blue liners.

Like the three picked ahead of him, Ashton is a big, mobile defender. In fact, he's the biggest of them all. Listed at 6'5", 225 pounds on draft day; he actually checks in at 6'7", over 230 pounds.

For a guy with that kind of size, he's pretty mobile. Which is good, because in today's game, you have to be a strong skater to play at the highest levels.

Ashton likes to use his body and play a heavier, more physical game - but he can also chip in some offense. He led all BCHL defenders this season with 18 goals in 53 games, and finished 7th amongst blueliners in the league with 36 points.

He gives a scouting report on himself in a BCHL interview:

"Ashton: "I really like to be that solid, two-way defenceman, being physical, moving pucks up the ice, quick transitions. I’m a smart thinker in both zones...""

He goes on to talk about wanting to improve every day as well. Which is exactly what you're hoping to find in the later rounds of the draft.

As you would expect from a 17 year old playing in tier 2 junior leagues in Canada, there is a lot to improve upon for Ashton before he's ready to make a push towards the pro levels. His game needs refinement on both sides of the puck. Weeding out the odd mistakes and keeping his feet pointed in the right direction will help.

But, he'll have time to work it all out as a Minnesota State (Mankato) commit. There is a lot to work with here because of his size and skating abilities. I think this could be looked back upon as a late round steal for the Blue Jackets.

You can't teach size, and Ashton has plenty of that. You can teach him how to defend, and his big shot is still there as well. Worst case scenario, he's a fun player to watch. Following his development should be a treat.