Columbus Blue Jackets draft candidate at fourth overall, Zeev Buium is a sublime two-way defenseman

If the Blue Jackets want to add to their future defense corps at the draft, Zeev Buium could be a solid choice at fourth overall.
2024 Frozen Four - Denver v Boston College
2024 Frozen Four - Denver v Boston College / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages
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The Blue Jackets have some pretty solid options for left defense over the coming years. Stalwart Zach Werenski is going to be joined at some point by top prospect Denton Mateychuk; and, hopefully, Stanislav Svozil can make the leap to the NHL as well.

For that reason, it's hard to see them targeting another left shot defenseman so high in the draft. But, neither Mateychuk nor Svozil are a sure thing. And, a player like Zeev Buium may just be good enough to make the Blue Jackets snatch him up at fourth overall.

A native of Southern California, Buium comes from a non-traditional hockey market - and he plays a new age style of defense that is becoming more popular in the NHL.

Listed at 6'0" and 183 pounds, he's slightly undersized, but it's hard to consider him small. He's not the most physical guy in the world, and that's fine. Where Buium makes his mark is with his hockey IQ. On both sides of the puck, this is a big strength for him.

Defensively, he uses his intelligence, smooth strides, and lateral movement to stay tight to his checks. He does throw the occasional hit, but he stands out here because of his skating and stick checking.

Offensively, he can join the rush and is a creative player, but I wouldn't say he has one elite trait that is going to make him a dominant point producer in the NHL. With that said, he is a deceptive skater, good passer; and he led the entire NCAA in scoring by defensemen - as a freshman. So, clearly, the offensive game is solid enough.

Scoring 11 goals and 50 points in 39 games for the University of Denver is no small feat. As a freshman, Buium quickly and consistently established himself as one of the most dangerous two-way threats from the back-end in all of college hockey; helping his team to a national championship.

But even if he doesn't become a huge point producer in the NHL, this is the kind of player that can anchor a defense corps for a decade or more. His hockey smarts, combined with his skating and ability to make quick, smart decisions with the puck; could make him a transitional beast at the highest level.

What are the odds the Blue Jackets take him? And, how long until he's NHL ready? I'll answer these questions on the next page.