2017 NHL Entry Draft: Columbus Blue Jackets Draft Review

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Now that the dust has settled on the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, it’s time to review what the Columbus Blue Jackets got done. There were multiple names that fans are wondering about, and the one at the forefront was the Blue Jackets first pick of the draft in Alexandre Texier. Here is the review of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

2017 NHL Entry Draft: Columbus Blue Jackets Draft Review

Alexandre Texier – 45th overall – Center, Left-handed

Texier is a bit of a mystery for most Blue Jackets fans. With very little known of the French teenager, primarily due to where he plays. There are tons of questions about him. It seems, through all of the scouting reports out there, that Texier is an elite-level skater with good technique. Texier has also been said to have good hands.

It is unknown when Texier would be ready to push for an NHL job, but there is plenty of time for the 18-year old to develop, and no immediate need to push him. The hopes are that Texier will be playing elsewhere next season, or at least that his French league play is more widely accessible.

Texier was ranked as an honorable mention in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft rankings by Last Word on Hockey Prospects, once again due to the fact that footage was nearly impossible to find outside of YouTube.

There was a pretty large variation where most of the draft experts had Texier ranked, with Bob McKenzie rating him as the 55th overall prospect. And Craig Button had this to say about Texier: ““Skills are very good. Skates well, handles puck well and good sense. Very good upside.” TSN projects him to be a skilled top six centerman in the future.

Below is a YouTube video of highlights on Alexandre Texier:

Daniil Tarasov – 86th overall – Goaltender, catches left

Tarasov is a big-bodied, young goaltender out of Russia. His frame is the first thing that pops out, as he is 6’4″ and 181-pounds. And at 18-years old, this is undoubtedly a developmental project that won’t see North American professional hockey for quite some time, especially given the goalies the Blue Jackets currently have in the system.

The one reason that Tarasov dropped to the Blue Jackets at 86th overall was due to spending the last season injured. Tarasov last played in the MHL in Russia, which is their major junior league, with Tulpar Ufa. In nine regular season games he had a 2.55 goals-against-average, a .918 save percentage, as well as a 1.52 goals-against-average and a .933 during the playoffs.

He was ranked as the 10th European goaltender by the NHL Central Scouting, as the 217th prospect by Hockeyprospect.com, and the 243rd prospect by Future Considerations.

Emil Bemstrom – 117th overall – Center/Right Wing, shoots right

Bemstrom is another promising later round pick that Jarmo Kekalainen and the Columbus Blue Jackets have been able to snag. He has a rather moderate size frame, at 5’10” and 181-pounds, meaning his frame could possibly get only slightly bigger.

There is lots of promise with Bemstrom, but there is one issue that needs to be assessed within his play. Ben Kerr of Last Word on Hockey and Last Word on Hockey Prospects says, “The issue [with Bemstrom] is that there is a huge difference in speed when he has the puck and when he doesn’t. Almost everyone slows down a bit with the puck, but his is dramatic.”

Ben also noted that Bemstrom can skate well in comparison to the rest of players his age and has a really nice shot.

There is upside, but there is no reason to believe that the 18-year old will see North American ice any time soon. Bemstrom is set to play with Leksands IF in the Allsvenskan next season.

Kale Howarth – 148th overall – Center, shoots left

As you can see, there is a serious trend in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft for the Blue Jackets. Howarth is the third player selected in their first four picks that has a primary position of center, or plays it as a secondary position.

Howarth is the biggest of the three, standing at 6’5″ and weighing in at 207-pounds. This monstrous frame makes him a very enticing late round pick. And with Howarth committed to the University of Connecticut next season, there will be plenty of opportunities for Blue Jackets fans to get a good look at one of their new center prospects.

Howarth spent the last two years playing in the BCHL with the Trail Smoke Eaters. In his first season he played in 53 games, scoring 12 goals and adding 15 assists to his tally. He improved on that total last season with 30 goals and 28 assists in 51 games.

Jonathan Davidsson – 170th overall – Right Wing, shoots right

The first pick of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft for the Blue Jackets that isn’t a teenager is Swedish right wing Jonathan Davidsson. At 5’11” and 185-pounds, Davidsson isn’t the biggest, but his style of play doesn’t require him to play with physicality. He will have to get a bit stronger for his game to translate to the North American style of play.

Last season Davidsson played 44 games for Djurgardens IF, as well as 11 games for the U20 team, in the SHL and SuperElit. During his 44 games in the SHL he scored three goals and added nine assists. Not great numbers for a 20-year old, but he will be back there next season. This is a big season for his development, and could give a good indication if the Jackets picking him 170th will be a steal or just another 6th round pick.

Davidsson was ranked as the 105th overall European skater by the NHL Central Scouting Service.

Carson Meyer – 179th overall – Right Wing, shoots right

In case you haven’t noticed by now, the Blue Jackets have emphasized stocking up their forward pool, and rightly so. Meyer joins a good group of under-the-radar prospects. Meyer is 5’11” and 185-pounds, and he is currently plying his trade with the Miami University of Ohio in the NCAA.

Before committing to Miami University Meyer played in the USHL with the Tri-City Storm. Over the course of 58 games with Tri-City he had 32 goals and 20 assists. In his only season at Miami so far Meyer had 10 goals and 16 assists in his freshman season for the RedHawks.

The interesting story surrounding Meyer, and one that’s generating a decent amount of buzz, is where he comes from. Meyer is an Ohio native, born in Powell, Ohio. He stated that he is a Blue Jackets fan and is ecstatic to be picked by his home state organization.

Robbie Stucker – 210th overall – Defenseman, shoots right

Another product from the great hockey state of Minnesota, Stucker was a solid pick this late in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. At 6’3″ and 179-pounds he could stand to fill out his big frame a little bit. Playing in the NCAA with Colorado College should help him add some mass to his frame.

Stucker is a product of the St. Thomas Academy that won the 2017 Section 3AA championship. During the season he played in 25 games, scoring eight goals and 32 assists. While these numbers are impressive, his production at the NCAA level will be a good indicator of where he’s at and will showcase his play more, making it easier to see what his strengths and weaknesses are against higher quality competition.

Stucker was ranked as the 88th overall North American skater by the NHL Central Scouting Service.

Review and Draft Grade

Columbus did a good job of focusing on their needs in the prospect pool by taking multiple players who can play the center position. They picked up a few wingers to add to the depth of the pool in that market as well, which is needed.

Adding a promising, and young, goalie prospect to the pool makes up for the loss of Anton Forsberg, and somewhat makes up for the uncertain future of Elvis Merzlikins. Along with all of those, bringing in a hometown kid is a nice story and picking up a defensive project is a good addition.

Overall, this was an effective draft for the Blue Jackets and they assessed the needs of the prospect pool. If his past drafts are any indication, Jarmo Kekalainen has likely picked up more than one diamond in the rough in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Grade: B+

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