Columbus Blue Jackets got it right with Cayden Lindstrom in NHL Draft

The Blue Jackets added another talented center to the system, picking Cayden Lindstrom from the WHL
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

After much talk about moving their fourth overall pick, the Blue Jackets opted to hold firm. When it was all said and done, they walked away from the first round of the draft with Cayden Lindstrom.

Suddenly, the team probably has the best two center prospects they've ever had. At the same time. After selecting Adam Fantilli third overall in 2023, they add a similar type of game breaker to the system.

At 6'3", and already weighing close to 220 pounds, Lindstrom has an NHL frame. He's one of the best skaters in the entire draft, and one of its best shooters also. He's a big, creative player, with physicality on both sides of the puck.

On almost every team in the league, he would be a future #1 center.

Cayden Lindstrom Profile. Cayden Lindstrom could be a dream fit. dark. Draft Profile

For the Jackets, that doesn't need to be the case. They have the luxury of time to be patient with Lindstrom, who will probably head back to Medicine Hat for another year of junior hockey next season.

At least, that's the smart play. After all, he missed a lot of this season due to lingering back issues; so a season of development seems to be in the cards for the young pivot.

Had it not been for the back injury, I don't think Lindstrom would be a Blue Jacket today. I truly feel that if he'd stayed healthy this season, his stock would have risen quite a bit. Call it a stroke of luck for the good guys, in that regard.

Or, you could look at it from another perspective: will his injury continue to hang around? If so, this could turn out to be a great blunder by the Blue Jackets, in Don Waddell's first draft.

In the end, it seems like the Jackets were at least comfortable enough with his health to take a big swing here. If it works out, they will have one of the most formitable 1-2 punches down the middle in the entire league.

Lindstrom's potential to become a very high end two-way center in the NHL, makes him a future matchup nightmare for the opposition. The only drawback to this pick would be injury concern. Otherwise, he has one of the highest upsides in the entire draft.

The Jackets got this pick absolutely right. If Cayden Lindstrom reaches his potential, they just walked away with the second best player in the entire draft with their fourth overall pick.