Five Players Columbus Blue Jackets Could Draft in NHL Draft

Five Players Columbus Blue Jackets Could Draft in NHL Draft

Cole Paganelli
3 years ago
3 min read
Five Players Columbus Blue Jackets Could Draft in NHL Draft

About a month ago, we took a look at players the Columbus Blue Jackets may take with the fifth overall pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. However, thanks to the Nick Foligno trade with Toronto and the David Savard Trade with Tampa Bay, Columbus has two other first-round picks.

Now that the Lightning have won the Cup, we know Columbus’ additional picks will fall at 24 (from Toronto) and 32 (from Tampa Bay). For a team that will be going through significant changes over the next few years, it is critical the Blue Jackets get this draft right, especially in the first round.

Columbus does not have a second-round pick but has at least one pick in each remaining round.

Here are five players the Blue Jackets could add in the draft, including a possible diamond-in-the-rough outside the first round.

Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

It’s admittedly very difficult to put Cossa on this list given the untimely passing of Matiss Kivlenieks due to a tragic accident on July 4. At the risk of sounding callous, there is sadly an organizational need for a young goaltender. Kivlenieks was likely a backup option entering next season and while Cossa isn’t quite ready for a jump to the pros, Cossa has a ton of upside and could be Columbus’ #1 goaltender when the team is a bit closer to competing.

Cossa is 6’6”, 212 lbs at 18 years old, but his lateral quickness is incredible for someone with his frame. He makes smart reads but will need to clean up his vision during net-front scrambles. He may be gone by the 24th overall pick, and it’s nearly impossible to project where first-round goaltenders are selected, but if he’s available, Columbus should sprint to the podium to grab Cossa.

Aatu Räty, C, Kärpät (Liiga)

Räty is going to be a high-risk, high-reward pick for whichever team selects him, and that’s exactly the type of player GM Jarmo Kekäläinen loves to gamble with. Roughly a year and a half ago, Räty was considered as the likely #1 overall pick in this class. However, after a rough stretch since around January 2020, Räty has tumbled down the draft board.

Despite the fall, there are many things Räty does well. He is a solid playmaker and puck-mover, has a good shot release, and he can play a physical game with or without the puck on his stick. Räty’s skating looks awkward and needs some improvement, and developing offensive consistency will be crucial. Räty looks like a solid second-line center with the slim potential to become a 1C.

Zachary L’Heureux, C/W, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

One of the more polarizing players in this draft, L’Heureux is best described as Brad Marchand 2.0. He’s got a lot of offensive skill to his game, but he plays with a ton of edge (47 PIMs in 33 games in 2021, 70 PIMs in 55 games in 2020).

There are concerns about L’Heureux’s personality, following a suspension for spitting on another player. However, there’s no doubt he will bring a ton of energy and toughness to the ice, which could be an excellent fit for Columbus in the middle of the lineup.

Daniil Chayka, LHD, CSKA (KHL)

Depending on what happens with defenseman Seth Jones, either via trade or free agency, Columbus will need an influx of blueline talent in the system. Enter Daniil Chayka, a true defensive d-man who is already shutting down some of the top talents in the world at the KHL level.

Chayka’s offensive game is nearly non-existent, save for a heavy shot from the point, but that shouldn’t scare anyone away from selecting him. He already skates at an NHL-caliber level, chooses smart breakout passes and angles to clear the zone, and displays good gap control. Chayka will be a very good second-pairing d-man with top-pairing upside.

Daniil Lazutin, C, SKA (MHL)

Lazutin had, admittedly, a rough season with SKA. In 31 games, he scored eight goals but had just one assist. He also did not register a point in five playoff games and projects as a middle-round pick.

So why is Lazutin on the list? Because this season was more exception than the rule. Lazutin has shown the ability to be offensively creative and has repeatedly impressed the Russian national teams at the U-16, U-17, and U-18 levels. He is incredibly skilled with the puck on his stick, and before this season, he was considered a potential first-round pick. Lazutin has the raw skills and physical size to get to the NHL but will need significant development to stick around.

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