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2022-23 Top 10 Columbus Blue Jackets Prospects

After acquiring star forwards Patrick Laine and Johnny Gaudreau the Blue Jackets seemed poised to take a big step forward this season but have stumbled out of the gate and sit in the NHL’s basement after the first dozen games.

Columbus has been building through the draft with five first-round picks in the past two drafts and despite having several prospects graduate such as Cole Sillinger and Yegor Chinakov, the prospect pool is flush with potential

The NHL roster as mentioned is anchored by Gaudreau and Laine and with a core built around Zach Werenski, Jakub Voracek, Boone Jenner, Jack Roslovic and Elvis Merzlinkins in goal. The core is young enough that to end up with a lottery pick for the 2023 draft would not be the worst thing and the team could add a franchise player at center if things break well at the lottery.

Columbus has been doing a great job of scouting, drafting, and developing players and the future there is bright.

1. Kent Johnson, LW/C – Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 6-1/168
Drafted: 2021 round one, fifth overall by Columbus Blue Jackets

Johnson will graduate from prospect eligibility by Christmas but for now, he still qualifies. Johnson has superstar potential. He is a poster boy for the flashy high-level skill and highlight reel plays the NHL is embracing. He will score Michigan goals and get fans out of their seats.

Johnson is flush with offensive skills and playmaking ability and in time he should settle in nicely as a center with one or both of Laine and Gaudreau on his flanks. For now, the rookie is getting quality NHL time as he adjusts to pro hockey and works out some of the kinks and warts in his game.

2. David Jiricek, RD – Cleveland Monsters (AHL)

Age: 18
Ht/Wt: 6-3/209
Drafted: 2022 round one, sixth overall by Columbus Blue Jackets

With the big right-shot defender, the Jackets have a dynamic duo with Jiricek and Werenski poised to anchor the defense for the foreseeable future. Jiricek may not require much development time before he is a top-pairing NHL defender. He made his NHL debut already playing two games before being assigned to the AHL for some development.

Jiricek has franchise defender potential, he has size and strength at 18. He skates very well, has a heavy point shot, can run a power play, has good hockey sense and is effective defending as well. Give him a year of adjusting to North American hockey and culture and he could be an impact player.

3. Denton Mateychuk, LD – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

Age: 18
Ht/Wt: 5-11/187
Drafted: 2022 round one, 12th overall by Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets second selection in the first round of the 2022 draft was the dynamic offensive defender from Winnipeg. Mateychuk at times plays like a rover as he is all over the ice, leading the rush, pinching in from the point, or creeping into the slot off the point. He is a hound for the puck, but not a puck hog as he dishes to teammates with extreme effectiveness.

His dogged pursuit of the puck can draw him out of position at times and he needs to be careful of that but not reel it in too much as it is also what makes him effective. Mateychuk will play this year and next in the WHL before he turns pro and may need some AHL time as well. His upside is exciting as he can be a dynamic offensive defenseman in the mold of a Cale Makar or Quinn Hughes.

4. Kirill Marchenko, RW/LW – Cleveland Monsters (AHL)

Age: 22
Ht/Wt: 6-3/187
Drafted: 2018 round two, 49th overall by Columbus Blue Jackets

The skilled offensive Russian has come to North America after three seasons in the KHL. Marchenko has kicked in the front door of the AHL with 14 points through the first 12 games. The 6-3 winger will be well seasoned after a year in the AHL adjusting to North America and could break out to be a Calder candidate next season.

5. Stanislav Svozil, LD – Regina Pats (WHL)

Age: 19
Ht/Wt: 6-0/168
Drafted: 2021 round three, 69th overall by Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets third-round selection in 2021 came to North America for his D+1 year to play in the WHL with the Regina Pats. His offensive game transitioned beautifully as he posted 10 goals and 41 points through 59 games.

He has returned to the Pats again for one more year in the dub where the Jackets hope he can refine some of his defensive shortcomings. Svozil will also need some AHL seasoning next year but he has top-four future upside within the Jackets organization.

6. Jordan Dumais, RW – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Age: 18
Ht/Wt: 5-9/174
Drafted: 2022 round three, 96th overall by Columbus Blue Jackets.

Dumais scored an eye-popping 109 points in his draft year but was not selected until the third round of the draft. His skating is highly criticized and he lacks size. There is no denying his offensive skill and vision.

In his D+1 season, he is torching the QMJHL to the tune of 40 points through the first 17 games, well over two points per game. Plenty of players who “couldn’t skate” made it to the NHL and made impacts. Luc Robitaille and Jason Robertson jump to mind. If Dumais can improve his skating to even NHL average, the Jackets could have a draft steal.

7. Corson Ceulemans, RD – University of Wisconsin (NCAA)

Age: 19
Ht/Wt: 6-2/198
Drafted: 2021 round one, 25th overall by Columbus Blue Jackets

Ceulemans is an offensive defenseman that is very dangerous offensively leading or joining the rush. His skating is strong, and the right-shot defender has good size and strength as well.

Drafted out of the AJHL with the Brooks Bandits where he was limited to just eight games, he made some noise at the U18 with Canada scoring eight points in six games. His freshman season in the NCAA was impressive with 22 points and he returns to the Badgers for his sophomore season. He could be ready for pro hockey following the school year.

8. Nick Blankenburg, RD – Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

Age: 24
Ht/Wt: 5-9/174
Drafted: Free Agent signed by Columbus Blue Jackets in 2022

The Michigan Wolverines Captain was undrafted but was a key player on the All-Star NCAA roster as a senior. His offensive upside may be limited, but it is not insignificant. He reads plays well, distributes the puck, and gets shots through from the point.s

Since he signed with Columbus, he has played for Team USA at the World Championship, seven NHL games, and made the Jackets to start his rookie season. Injuries have been a problem early and given the hits and blocks he racks up, that could be a regular occupational risk going forward.

9. Liam Foudy, C/RW – Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

Age: 22
Drafted: 2018 round one, 18th overall by Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets first-round pick from 2018 needs to establish himself as a full-time NHL player. The Speed demon has played between the NHL and AHL with 35 points in 41 AHL games. Through his first 30 career NHL games played he is still looking for his first career NHL goal.

10. Luca Del Bel Belluz, C – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Age: 19
Ht/Wt: 6-0/179
Drafted: 2022 round two, 44th overall by Columbus Blue Jackets

After his sophomore OHL season was wiped out by COVID, Del Bel Belluz climbed up the draft rankings by scoring 76 points in 68 games when the OHL returned. Back with the Steelheads for his D+1 season and final year in the OHL he is off to a hot start with 21 points after 14 games. Next year he will make the jump to the AHL.

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