Hello all, after a weekend in Chicago attending the Entry Draft, it’s time to recap the seven newest Blue Jackets. First up, I’ll recap the picks I had the Blue Jackets taking in my mock draft.
1st Rd 24th Overall-Erik Brannstrom
Brannstrom was drafted 15th overall making him the first defenseman ever drafted by the Golden Knights.
3rd Rd 86th Overall-Cale Fleury
I was close on this one as Cale went 87th overall to Montreal.
4th Rd 117th Overall-D’Artagnan Joly
D’Artagnan also went one pick after a CBJ pick, just two rounds too late. Calgary selected him in the sixth round.
5th Rd 148th Overall-Otto Latvala
Otto was my first swing abd miss as Otto was not selected in the 2017 Draft.
6th Rd 170th Overall-Sami Moilanen
Making it 0 for 5 on the weekend, Sami, like countrymen Otto, was passed over in the draft.
7th Rd 210th Overall Tyce Thompson
Closing out the draft with a hat trick of misses by me, Tyce wasn’t be selected by an NHL team.
Now for the players the Jackets actually selected with their seven picks. I don’t know why the Blue Jackets do this but they have made a habit out of taking players passed over in previous drafts. So some of my insights on some of these guys may be kind of slim.
2nd Rd 45th Overall
NAME: Alexandre Texier
TEAM: Bruleurs De Loups (Grenoble)
HEIGHT: 6’0” WEIGHT: 185
HOMETOWN: Grenoble, France
RANKING: 16TH European Skater
STATS: 40GP 10-9-19 -1 69PIM
After sending their original second-round pick to Vancouver as compensation for John Tortorella’s hire, the Blue Jackets made a trade to get back into the second round at the cost of top prospect Keegan Kolesar. Kolesar headed to Vegas and the Jackets got pick number 45 overall.
With this pick the Jackets made some history. The team selected Grenoble’s Alexandre Texier making him the highest ever drafted French player. Texier was one of the youngest players in the draft, making the cut-off by just two days. Texier spent last year with the men’s team in Grenoble, the Bruleurs De Loups (Wolf Burners…no seriously check out this logo). He picked up 19 points in 40 games and added 10 more in 12 playoff games. Last season, Alexandre split time between Grenoble’s U18 and U22 teams. With the U18 team, he averaged 4.12 points a game with 70 points in 17 games and he put up 17 points in 11 games with the U22 team. Texier won the Jean-Pierre Graff Trophy as the French league’s best young player. Alexandre rose from being 39th to the 16th ranked European skater in the time between the midterm Central Scouting rankings and the final rankings.
Even though Texier played well amongst men in France, it still leads to some questions by scouts since France isn’t exactly a hockey hotbed. Some scouts want to see how he performs at his next stop. Alexandre has stated he’s not returning to France. He’s heading either to Finland or Sweden which sounds like his preference but the CHL (OHL, QMJHL, WHL) could be an option with Baie-Comeau of the QMJHL selecting the Frenchman in the 2017 Import Draft.
Texier has excellent skating fundamentals and is able to generate speed through crossovers. He’s consistently moving his feet which allows him to create separation. He’s able to generate good outside speed because of his ability to transition up the ice quickly due to his long stride. Texier is able to maintain possession of the puck for long periods of time because he widens his stance. Texier is able to turn away from defenseman quickly and can stop on a dime. He has very good puck skills and can stickhandle when weaving in the offensive zone and at top speed. He doesn’t overhandle the puck. Alexandre has great scoring instincts and can pick corners due to his great release. Texier outwaits defensemen who go down to block shots or passes and elevates pucks over them. He’s willing to play tough but he doesn’t tend to play physical, he usually resorts to stick checks. Two guides I have mention the defensive side of his game is a work in progress but he does have the vision and offensive smarts to make it as an NHLer. The RedLine Report compared him to Mathieu Perreault saying his projection is as a 3rd line center who sees PP duty.
3rd Rd 86th Overall
NAME: Daniil Tarasov
HEIGHT: 6’4” WEIGHT: 181
HOMETOWN: Novokuznetsk, Russia
RANKING: 10th European Goalie
STATS: Missed 16-17 Season with Injury
In the third round the Jackets did something they’ve never done before when they drafted a Russian goaltender. Tarasov was a bit of an enigma last year as he missed the whole season with a lower body injury. Most believed Tarasov would’ve been one of the top goalie prospects in the draft had it not been for the injury. It was his performance at the U18s in 2016 that kept him in team’s minds and in the scout’s rankings at all. The RedLine Report said this about Tarasov: “Losing all that crucial development time is never good, but a team that does its homework could come away with a late round steal once the kid gets healthy.” At the 2015-16 U18 World Championships, Tarasov was named one of Russia’s top three players with a 2.11GAA and .911 save percentage in five games.
Daniil’s father, Vadim, is a Russian hockey legend who played 20 years in Russia and he is the idol of a certain two-time Vezina Trophy winner…wait a minute we have one of those! Yes folks, Bob’s boyhood idol is Daniil’s father. Vadim is also the goalie coach for Danill’s team.
4th Rd 117th Overall
NAME: Emil Bemstrom
TEAM: Leksands IF(Sweden)
HEIGHT: 5’11” WEIGHT: 176
HOMETOWN: Nykoping, Sweden
RANKING: 71st European Skater
STATS: 28GP 21-12-33 +3 35PIM(with U20 Team)
Emil is a skilled offensive player who can generate good speed through the neutral zone and often utilizes several quick crossovers that can catch defensemen off guard. At the World U18s, dmen played too aggressively and Bemstrom would burn them cleanly with his great outside speed. He’s a shifty player in open space and in the corners along with his quick hands. Bemstrom has good scoring instincts and can beat goalies in a variety of ways including a patented deke to a backhand (somewhere Sonny Milano starts learning Swedish). He has an excellent release and he likes to shoot the puck from anywhere. He has a knack for cutting to the middle of the ice and firing quickly while using dmen as a screen. This move created havoc at the U18s. Even if the shot hit the posts it became a big rebound. He’s scored goals with his junior team using a hard accurate one timer from his off wing. An NHL Scout had this to say about Emstrom in May “All I can tell you is that he’s been a goal scorer in league play…he’s like a poor man’s Tolvanen.” referring to Nashville’s first round pick Eeli Tolvanen. Emil comes from a hockey family. His father was a three year captain for Sodertalje SK and his brother, Emil’s uncle, played six seasons with SSK.
5th Rd 148th Overall
NAME: Kale Howarth
TEAM: Trail(BCHL) Committed to UConn(18-19)
HEIGHT: 6’5” WEIGHT: 207
HOMETOWN: Red Deer, Alberta
RANKING: 128th North American Skater
STATS: 51GP 30-28-58 E 46PIM
This is the third time Kale has been draft eligible but a point per game season like he had last year finally got him selected. Kale finished second on the Smoke Eaters (again, seriously) in both goals and points. Howarth is a big winger whose stride looks awkward but that’s mostly due to his lanky stature. When he has a straight path, he has good acceleration and would win a majority of puck races. He’s very effective on the forecheck and is big enough to steal the puck using his long reach. He uses his size to his advantage when pursuing pucks in either end and likes to initiate contact. Howarth was a fixture on the Eaters’ special teams units. Kale shows great touch around the net and is often driving the net for rebounds. He has a good release which can be used in stride and is a threat of the rush. He’s most comfortable in the corners or when he has space in the offensive zone but his decision making can be inconsistent. According to Eliteprospects, Kale will be back in Trail next season before heading to Storrs to suit up for the UConn Huskies
6th Round 170th Overall
NAME: Jonathan Davidsson
TEAM: Djurgardens IF(Sweden)
HEIGHT: 5’11” WEIGHT: 187
HOMETOWN: Tyreso, Sweden
RANKING: 105th European Skater
STATS: 44GP 3-9-12 -6 16PIM
Saturday in Chicago was a good day for the Davidsson family. Jonathan’s brother Marcus was drafted 37th overall by Buffalo while big brother Jonathan waited four rounds to hear his name called. Jonathan has played for Team Sweden and picked up seven points in 10 games last year. Jonathan has an above average skating ability with good quickness but he lacks speed for separation. He processes the game well and makes decisions quickly with good vision. He has good puck skills and is consistently involved in the offense as more of a passer than a shooter. He lacks strength. Davidsson has lost 50/50 battles and can get knocked around by bigger players. The Hockeyprospect Blackbook thinks when you’re taking a player his third time eligibile as Davidsson is, you’d prefer a player who has produced a little more at this level. But Davidsson has shown in live viewings that he has the skill to warrant some late round consideration…I’d say it worked.
6th Round 179th Overall
NAME: Carson Meyer
HEIGHT: 5’11” WEIGHT: 185
HOMETOWN: Powell, Ohio
RANKING: 151st North American Skater
STATS: 32GP 10-16-26 -2 14PIM
In the sixth round, the Blue Jackets went local by taking Carson Meyer from Miami to make him the third Ohio born player drafted by the CBJ. Last year with the Tri-City Storm, Carson led the team in scoring and was tied for fourth in the league in goals (32) along with 19 assists. Meyer helped the Storm win the USHL title picking up 11 points in 11 playoff games. In Oxford last season, Carson was part of a 14 man freshman class. Carson led the freshman class in scoring and finished second on the team in goals. The Blackbook says Carson isn’t a big kid, but he is a smart opportunistic forward. Meyer developed through the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets program and served as an alternate captain on the U18 team when he scored 51 points in 32 games.
7th Round 210th Overall
NAME: Robbie Stucker
TEAM: St. Thomas Academy(US High School) Committed to Colorado College 18-19
HEIGHT: 6’3” WEIGHT: 179
HOMETOWN: St. Paul Minnesota
RANKING: 88th North American Skater
STATS: 25GP 8-32-40 20PIM
The Blue Jackets drafted a dman in the last round in Minnesota’s Robbie Stucker. Stucker has been drafted three times in the USHL Phase II Draft. Most recently he was selected by Clark Cup Champion Chicago. He’s been known as a very raw prospect who shows steady progression, just not enough to stick, but his game has grown since last year. Robbie has good size, and once he adds some muscle he’ll be very difficult to handle one-on-one. His passes are crisp and on the tape, and he has the ability to stretch the ice. Even though the Blackbook was hard on Robbie in saying he’s not a player worth drafting, I’m hoping he can prove them wrong. Robbie jumped from 108th to 88th from the midterm to the final rankings.
As for next season, I’m not 100% sure where Robbie will be playing. It should either be in Chicago with the USHL’s Steel, or in Minnesota with the Magicians of the NAHL. Also of note, Robbie served as the captain of his high school team.
There you have it folks, a look at the newest Jackets.