Reviewing the 2018 NHL Draft for the Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets made six total picks at the 2018 NHL Draft. They were only able to find one NHL player.
2018 NHL Draft - Portraits
2018 NHL Draft - Portraits / Tom Pennington/GettyImages
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The Blue Jackets dealt away multiple mid-round picks to load up for a playoff run - that ended in just six games.

The fourth round pick for the Jackets was traded to Nashville in exchange for beloved center Mark Letestu. Nashville used that pick to select C Jachym Kondelik, so call it a win for the good guys.

Our fifth round pick in 2018 was sent to Chicago in the Artemi Panarin trade. Again, a win for us. The Hawks later dealt this pick to Arizona, who selected defenseman Michael Callahan. But, the Jackets saw someone they liked still on the board in the sixth round, so they traded a 2019 5th rounder in exchange for pick #159.

4. D Tim Berni, sixth round (#159 overall)

Tim Berni was an attractive pick in the fifth round. I really liked this pick at the time, and even in hindsight I still like this pick. There's just one problem: they ruined his development.

Berni wasn't ever going to barnstorm the NHL and put up massive points. But, he was a natural leader on defense, who could skate and play the game very intelligently. I think, in time, and with the right development, he could have turned into a nice bottom pairing option in the NHL.

The Jackets entered the 2022-23 season dangerously thin on defense. Injuries came early and often, and Berni was thrown to the wolves in the NHL, to the tune of 59 games and a whopping -26 rating. This came in a year where he should have been developing in the AHL; hopefully gaining some offensive confidence.

After that disasterous season, Berni could not come to an agreement with the Jackets on a contract extension. He played this season back in Switzerland.

Our verdict: Ruined promise. I think I would still take Berni here.

5. G Veini Vehvilainen, sixth round (#173 overall)

The lone goaltender taken by the Jackets was Veini Vehvilainen. He showed early promise, putting up really solid numbers in Finland's Liiga in his draft and D+1 years. But coming over to North America proved to be a tough adjustment.

Vehvilainen spent parts of two seasons in the Blue Jacket organization, appearing in one NHL game (just 11 minutes). He was eventually dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Mikko Lehtonen, in what turned out to be a swap of spare parts.

Our verdict: Bust. Hindsight pick: there aren't many players who have cracked NHL lineups taken after Vehvilainen, but San Jose's John Leonard is probably the best one.

On the next page, we'll profile the final Blue Jackets pick of the draft - and give an overall verdict.