Columbus Blue Jackets draft candidate at 4th overall, Berkly Catton is a highly skilled center

Berkly Catton may be undersized, but his skill and offensive ceiling make him an intriguing potential choice for the Blue Jackets at fourth overall.
Spokane Chiefs v Winnipeg Ice
Spokane Chiefs v Winnipeg Ice / Jonathan Kozub/GettyImages
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Berkly Catton is the most productive offensive player available at next month's NHL Draft. Based purely on numbers, nobody else ranked inside of the top-10 comes close to his 116 points.

Catton played in all 68 games for the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League this season, scoring 54 goals and finishing fourth overall in scoring. All of this at just 17 years old.

From that perspective, he's an interesting potential choice at 4th overall in spite of his size. Catton is listed at just 5'11", and 163 pounds. But, if we're looking at just the forwards in this draft, he could wind up being the second or third best one to come out of it. And, he's a true center. This should all sound pretty good if you're a Blue Jackets fan.

Offensively, he's a dynamic player. No other way to put it. He can control the pace of the game with the puck on his stick, and find passing lanes that nobody else on the ice can see. He also has good hands, a quick release, and is an elusive player; using quick turns and footwork to get into dangerous scoring areas.

Defensively, he works hard and is a surprisingly good all-around center for a guy his size. Catton has a lot of filling out to do - but he's already shown a determined compete level defensively, and he does surprisingly well in the faceoff circle. In my opinion, these traits will make him a solid all-around player in the NHL.

The one concern I would have here is similar to what we've seen with Kent Johnson in Columbus. Will his size make him more of a winger in the NHL, or can he make the adjustment to bigger, stronger players and remain a pivot?

Whichever role he develops into, he's a player we should not overlook when watching this year's draft prospects. He's a dogged competitor, and if the Jackets do draft him, I could easily see Adam Fantilli and Berkly Catton as this team's top-two centers for the next decade, or more.

If developed correctly, those guys would give the Jackets one of the best 1-2 punches down the middle in the entire NHL. But, development is going to be key with Catton. This isn't a player who will step right into the NHL and stand out ala Fantilli. He's going to need some time.

How much time? Who would I compare him to? And, what's my final verdict? I'll answer all of those questions on the next page.