We have looked at options for the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2022 NHL Draft for both the sixth and 12th overall picks. Today we turn our attention to their other high pick in the draft. They own three of the first 44 picks.
Like the 12th pick, there is a lot of unknown surrounding it. No one knows how the first 43 picks will go. There is also no guarantee the Blue Jackets make this pick especially if a trade opportunity presents itself.
The only thing we can say is that there is still plenty of talent available in this part of the second round. This is also the part of the draft where some teams will ponder if they should draft a goalie.
While I think the Blue Jackets must draft a goalie at some point in Montreal, doing it with the 44th pick would be a little too early from my sight. This year’s class of goalies isn’t considered to be the strongest. They can easily use a later draft pick to grab one.
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For this piece, I will share three forwards and three defenseman that could be available around the 44th pick that I think would interest the Blue Jackets. If all goes according to plan for the team, they could walk away with six of the best prospects from the last two seasons. They have Kent Johnson, Cole Sillinger and Corson Ceulemans from 2021 to add to their first three picks this year.
Let’s dive into the list of who I think could be available 44th overall that the Blue Jackets should look at.
6 Options With 44th Overall
The Blue Jackets ideally would love to add a big-bodied center to their prospect pool from this draft. They may choose to address this early. But if we get to 44 and Filip Bystedt is still on the board, the team should strongly consider him.
While there are existing questions about his offensive upside, he still has plenty to offer that should intrigue teams. He’s already 6-foot-4 and is known more as a defensive center. He stood out at the U-18’s playing in a top-six role.
The industry believes Bystedt goes somewhere in the 35-45 range which feels about right given that some of skills are still raw. It’s a worthy gamble to take and could become a steal if his offense comes around.
The other area of need the Blue Jackets have to address at some point is right-side defense. Should they miss out on any of the top defensemen, Sam Rinzel could provide immense value at this spot.
Rinzel is considered the high-school player with the highest upside in this draft. At already 6-foot-3 and showing signs of a promising offensive game, he has the chance to hear his name late in the first round. But the consensus believes he will be gone by the end of the second round.
Teams are excited about Rinzel because he has plenty of room to get stronger and already boasts NHL size. He’s a few seasons away but certainly worth the pick as a potential top-four defenseman who is right-handed.
Sapovaliv came to the OHL and immediately made an impact on a weaker Saginaw team. His 34 assists was tied for third amongst OHL rookies and 52 points was fourth amongst all OHL rookies, coming in higher than top prospects Owen Beck, Matthew Poitras and Bryce McConnell-Barker.
Sapovaliv is a big-bodied center who uses his 6-foot-3 frame well. His skating got better as the season wore on although that’s the biggest concern amongst scouts and why he is ranked lower than you’d think.
Sapovaliv is primed to become one of the most impactful players in the OHL next season given his continued development. He also plays in a system under coach Chris Lazary that stresses responsible creativity. It’s a pro-style system that allowed players like Cole Perfetti to thrive. This is about the range we’ll hear his name called.
I personally think Odelius is gone by 44th, but in the event he’s there, the Blue Jackets should race to the podium. He’s perhaps one of the more underappreciated defensemen available.
Let our head of Draft Content Peter Baracchini explain why he’s so high on Odelius: “Odelius is everything that you would want in a modern two-way, puck-moving defenseman as he displays excellent composure and situational awareness. His smarts allow him to think the game quickly and effectively, but it’s his skating that is always on display. He has great movement in all directions and he’s very deceptive with his motions and movements. He never rushes an opportunity and uses his skating and edges to get out of tough situations.”
The attention early will go to Odelius’ teammates Jonathan Lekkerimaki and Liam Ohgren. But in the eyes of some scouts, Odelius might have just as much upside. For the cost of a mid-second rounder, that’s an easy decision.
Trikozov is one of the most divisive prospects in this entire draft with some ranking him in the top-10 while others have him outside the second round. I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Should he be available at 44, the Blue Jackets should look hard at him.
Those high on Trikozov see the high potential he carries especially when he snipes the puck. At this part of the draft, there are very few with the upside he has. But there are significant questions on the other side of the puck.
If the Blue Jackets want to go for a homerun here, Trikozov should be the pick.
Casey is a University of Michigan commit so that seems to automatically put him on the Blue Jackets’ radar. All kidding aside, Casey also has a wide variety of ranks depending what you read.
On the good end, Casey is a good, puck-moving defenseman who has made offensive strides on the U.S. Development Team. With that though, he still has plenty of development to go through defensively.
There are some folks who believe Casey has first-round upside. If it all comes together for him, he has top-pairing potential. But he does need to add muscle to his 5-foot-10 frame.
Each of these six players would provide the Blue Jackets something they need in their organization. However the list of players available goes well beyond this.
The fact that players in this range have some first-round upside in the eyes of scouts should bode well for their chances of landing a good prospect. It’s within reason to believe that this pick falls within the top-32 on the Blue Jackets’ master list.
With so many different options available to them, the Blue Jackets are primed to expedite the reset within their team with the higher-end prospects they’re going to add. If you’re a fan, that’s worth being excited about.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2022-23 season will mark nine seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager.