I Think this is Really Good for Columbus

2022-07-26

"I think this is really good for Columbus" - Ian Gurtowski, General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins declared following the EHE Draft Lottery. A bold statement for a team that did not end up with the first overall pick. The Blue Jackets entered the lottery with the second best odds at landing the first pick in the draft, thanks to the pick acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in a 2021 offseason trade. That pick ended up staying put at second overall with the Montreal Canadiens landing the first overall pick. The surprise of the day however was with the Blue Jackets winning the lottery with their very own pick. Beginning the day with the worst odds of any team at just 0.5% and poised to select 16th overall. Under the new lottery rules, this meant that the Blue Jackets could move up 10 spots and will draft sixth overall in the EHE Entry Draft. 

With two selections in the first six picks, the options are endless for the team’s next moves. GM Andrew Payeur was ecstatic speaking with the media afterwards declaring "We're open for business". The team just missed out on the playoffs for a second straight year. And with a prospect cupboard already brimming with potential, it wouldn't surprise anyone if they were willing to part with one or both of those top picks in order to land a player who could push the NHL team to the next level. The Blue Jackets are sure to get plenty of calls in the coming weeks as the August 28th draft day approaches.

If the Blue Jackets choose to keep that 2nd overall pick, fellow General Managers wonder what route the team will go. The current construction of the prospect pipeline is already ripe with centers in the form of Phil Tomasino, Barrett Hayton, Cole Sillinger, Brendan Brisson and Peyton Krebs, which may point to the team avoiding top prospects Shane Wright and Logan Cooley. Still, Payeur's draft strategy has historically been to select the "Best Player Available" regardless of organizational needs. Of course, their options at 2 will depend entirely on what the Montreal Canadiens and GM Greg Forget decides to do at 1st overall. Will he take Juraj Slafkovsky? Will it be Shane Wright? Or will he go off the board entirely?

The playoffs battles are heating up as the Conference Finals kick-off, but there are 28 teams in waiting and trade chatter is slowly creeping up in intensity. Sources close with the Columbus front office say the team has already received offers on their top picks but those sources suggested the team’s first order of business may be to shed some salary to make room for potential future additions and the resigning of its own RFAs. The most logical names for salary dumping seem to be Craig Smith and Jake Muzzin. However, with the expected emergence of Robert Thomas as a bonafide top six center, the team thinks it may be time to move on from one of Mikael Granlund or Ryan Johansen. Two players who only just arrived within the past season and were expected to support the forward group as veteran stalwarts. Johansen is due for a new contract this offseason and is expected to sign a four year contract with the team, while Granlund, as well as Craig Smith have two seasons remaining on the contracts they signed as UFAs last summer




Shaun Stephens

Was most certainly a good lottery for yourself...well done!

I Think this is Really Good for Columbus
Blue Jackets land the 2nd and 6th overall picks at EHE Draft Lottery

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