Columbus Blue Jackets draft candidate, Konsta Helenius is a heady two-way center

Konsta Helenius may be the most NHL ready forward in the entire draft class. While he doesn't have elite level skill, I think he's being underrated amongst his peers.
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The Columbus Blue Jackets hold the fourth overall pick at the draft, which is just over two weeks away. While I don't see them using it to nab Finnish center Konsta Helenius; I feel like he's an important player to profile here. His game fits a lot of what the Blue Jackets need.

If the Jackets decide to trade their pick back and pick up some other assets, I think this is a player who should be really high on their list. In fact, I think Helenius is wildly underrated in this draft as a whole, and we'll look back in a few years and wonder how he was taken so low.

At 5'11" and roughly 180 pounds, you would expect Helenius to be one of those flashy, highly skilled centers. His production in Finland's Liiga - the top league in the country - would point to that as well. He scored 14 goals and 36 points in 51 games for Jokerit this season.

To put that into comparison, Patrik Laine scored 17 goals and 33 points (46 games) in the same league. And, at the same age; then went second overall at the 2016 draft. So, why isn't Helenius being talked about more?

For starters, Helenius doesn't have one elite trait to his game. He's not a high end skater or playmaker. He doesn't have the lethal one-timer or a hard-checking physicality to his game. He doesn't have size or really anything about his game that makes him stand out.

Instead, he's just a really intelligent, efficient player. On both sides of the puck, he's very polished and capable already. Having just turned 18 in May, he already has a full season against men under his belt - and he was very productive throughout.

While Helenius doesn't have size, he's a hound on the puck. He understands how to position himself, and has surprising strength that allows him to create turnovers. Then, he has enough skill and vision to make plays with the puck once he has it.

He may not have one elite trait that jumps out at you when you watch him play; but he's an intelligent player who already plays the game like an NHL veteran. I think he can step right into the lineup and be a middle-six player in the NHL next season.

On the next slide, I'll break down Konsta's overall upside, and share my final thoughts on where he might be picked.