Reviewing All Four Columbus Blue Jacket Prospects at the WJCs

The Blue Jackets had 4 prospects competing at the World Junior Championship tournament.

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IHOCKEY-JUNIOR-USA-NOR / ADAM IHSE/TT/GettyImages
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The Canadian team didn't get the result they wanted, finishing 5th overall. Still, as always, they were an intriguing team to watch; one loaded with highly touted NHL prospects - including the top two prospects in the Blue Jacket system.

Jordan Dumais (3rd round, #96 overall, 2022 NHL Draft) entered the tournament with the lofty expectation of driving offense on one of Canada's premier scoring lines. Unfortunately, I have to admit that Jordan's struggles may have definitely helped hold the Canadian offense back.

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IHOCKEY-JUNIOR-CAN-GER / ADAM IHSE/GettyImages

The good news is that his struggles weren't due to him not being up to snuff. The bad news: his struggles appear to be tied to lingering hip issues, which have him back in Columbus for further evaluation.

Dumais finished with just 1 goal and 2 points in 5 games for team Canada. He gets a pass from me here because he obviously isn't 100%. Call it a "C" grade.

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IHOCKEY-JUNIOR-CAN-GER / ADAM IHSE/GettyImages

On the flip side: the top prospect in the CBJ system was terrific. Denton Mateychuk (1st round, #12 overall, 2022 NHL Draft) didn't score a goal for the Canadians, but he did pick up 4 assists in their 5 games played.

He ate heavy minutes, playing in all situations and standing out whenever he was on the ice. As usual, with the puck on his stick, he controlled the pace of the game; moving about the ice at his own leisure. Without the puck, he was rock solid as well.

He looked really good in every aspect, even named one of Canada's three best player by their own staff. By the time the tournament was over, I said to myself that he looks really close to NHL ready. Don't be surprised if we see him in Columbus as soon as his junior career comes to an end. Denton gets an "A" grade from me.

The final Jacket to compete: Finnish center Oiva Keskinen (7th round, #194 overall, 2023 NHL Draft). I was really interested to see Kesinen in live game action. Admittedly, I'd only seen highlights and recorded game footage of him before.

Overall, I thought Keskinen looked pretty good. He played in key offensive situations for the Finns, scoring 2 goals and 5 points in 7 games. He really stood out on the power-play, with a lot of their plays working through him along the half wall.

Honestly, his game reminds me a little bit of former Jacket Alex Wennberg. He's got similar size and actually looks like him in his skating. He distributed the puck well and capitalized on his chances. Late round picks are always a crapshoot, but I'd give Keskinen a solid "B" grade here. Maybe even a fringe "A", if we take expecations for a 7th round pick into account. Early returns look really good.

Ultimately, all of the Jacket prospects did some good things at this year's tournament. Had Dumais been healthy in Sweden, we might very well have seen all four guys standing out in big roles. I don't think I've ever seen that from the Blue Jackets, in all of my years following this team and the WJC tournament. The future really is bright in Central Ohio.

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