The year was 2001. George W. Bush was sworn into office, Wikipedia was launched, Apple introduced the IPod, and the Columbus Blue Jackets drafted 10 players in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
Who did the Blue Jackets choose to draft and where are they now?
Pascal LeClaire was the first goalie taken by any team in the 2001 Entry Draft.
LeClaire wouldn’t see NHL ice time until he was called up by the Blue Jackets during the 2005-06 season. Over the next four season LeClair would become a fixture on the team. Unfortunately bad luck injuries plagued him and at trade deadline in March of 2009 was traded to the Ottawa Senators for a 2nd round 2009 draft pick and Antoine Vermette.
The bad luck continued for LeClaire in Ottawa. In November 2009 a puck bounced off a Washington Capitals’ stick hitting the glass behind the Senators bench before hitting Leclaire in the face.
Due to more injuries and inconsistent play, LeClaire was sent to the Binghamton Senators (AHL) where he played one game. He retired before the start of the 2011-12 season.
After retiring LeClaire began working as an agent for Newport Sports in Quebec. According to an interview with Columbus Blue Jackets, LeClaire is “assisting with an orientation camp for young hockey players in Canada.”
Round 2 brought the Blue Jackets 2 draft picks, Minnesota State University – Mankato bound Tim Jackman (38) and Kelowna Rockets’ Kiel McLeod (53).
Upon being selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jackman became the first player from MSU-Mankato to be drafted into the NHL. He would spend 2 years playing for Minnesota State University – Mankato before getting called up tot he Syracuse Crunch for the 2002-03 season.
On December 20, 2003 Jackman would make his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets against the Minnesota Wild. He wouldn’t score his first goal or assist until that February. In October of 2005, he was sent to the Coyotes with Geoff Sanderson for Cale Hulse, Mike Rupp, Jason Chimera.
Jackman would bounce between a few teams and their AHL affiliates until the 2010-11 season when the Calgary Flames signed him as a physical presence on the team. He would play there for almost 4 seasons. In 209 games, Jackman tallied 13 goals and 23 assists.
At the beginning of the 2013-14 season, Jackman was traded from the Flames to the Ducks for a 6th round pick in the 2014 draft. He still plays for the Ducks today and played in 9 games during the 2014-15 Stanley Cup playoffs.
McLeod continued playing for the Kelowna rockets until the 2003-04 season when the Jackets sent him to the Springfield Falcons to develop. By the end of the season McLeod tallied 7 goals and 11 assists in 77 games.
Over the next two season McLeod would play for 3 different teams in the AHL before being sent to the ECHL’s Trenton Titans.
From 2006 to 2008, McLeod would captain the Victoria Salmon Kings (ECHL). While there he played in 113 games, scoring 47 goals and 51 assists. During the 2007-08 season McLeod was called up to play 20 games with the Albany River Rats.
At the start of the 2008-09 season McLeod would head overseas to play for Cortina SG in Italy.
As of August 2014, McLeod is an Equipment Operator for Schlumberger in Grande Prairie.
During round 3 the Blue Jackets selected Aaron Johnson and Per Mars.
Johnson is the Jaromir Jagr of the AHL. He has played for 7 different AHL teams since the 2003-04 season. Johnson has played for the Syracuse Crunch, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Rockford IceHogs, Milwaukee Admirals, Providence Bruins, Hartford Wolf Pack, and the Binghamton Senators. The only team that kept Johnson in the NHL for a whole season was the Blue Jackets. First during the 2006-7 season and then again during his second stint with the team in the 2011-12 season.
While with the Jackets the second time around Johnson shined bright as he interviewed his teammates off ice. Who could forget the time Johnson asked John Moore if they had trees in Chicago?
Johnson is a free agent this year. Time will only tell if the Senators re-sign him or cut him loose.
Mars never saw NHL or AHL ice time and retired after the 2008-09 season with Ostersunds IK.
Mars currently is the COO of Marsblade, a company that sells an off-ice training tool for hockey players that he invented.
The site tells you a little bit about the importance of the product to off-ice training.
Marsblade is the first training tool that truly offers an ice-like feel without actually skating on ice. The unique rocking motion simulates the rounded shape of the ice hockey blade by allowing skaters to use the same agile movement pattern as in ice skating.
The Blue Jackets traded their 4th round pick and Kevyn Adams for Ray Whitney.
Plymouth Whalers defenseman, Cole Jarrett, was the lone selection for the Blue Jackets in round 5.
Jarrett continued playing for the Whalers until 2003 when he signed as a free agent with the New York Islanders. The AHL affiliate of the Islanders, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, would become his home for the next three seasons. Jarrett would play one game with the Islanders on April 18, 2006.
The Islanders didn’t offer Jarrett a contract at the end of the 2005-06 season so he decided to play in Germany.
During the 2007-08 season, Jarrett played for 3 different teams in both Finland and Sweden before going back to Germany to play for the Nurnberg Ice Tigers.
In 2009, Jarrett signed as a free agent with EC Graz. After a year he signed with the Tohoku Free Blades in Japan thinking this might be his final stop. However, after a massive earthquake hit Japan in 2011 cancelling half of the season, Jarrett returned to EC Graz.
The Blue Jackets had their shot at 2 players during round 6 of the 2001 Entry Draft. They selected Justin Aikins and Artem Vostrikov.
After the draft, Aikins opted to go the college route. He attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated in 2005 with a degree in International Business and Economics.
The two seasons that followed graduations, Aikins saw ice time with 3 different teams in the ECHL (Columbus Inferno, Long Beach Ice Dogs, Phoenix Roadrunners).
He ended his hockey playing career in 2011 after playing 3 season with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.
Aikins joined Bauer Hockey in 2013 as a Team Business Coordinator. A year after being hired he took a larger role with the company as Product Marketing Manager.
Vostrikov never saw NHL ice and spent the rest of his career playing in Russia until his retirement after the 2012-13 season.
With the 204th pick of the 2001 Entry Draft the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Raffaele Sannitz of Lugano.
After being drafted Sannitz continued playing in Lugano. He won the NLA Championship during the 2002-03 season. Sannitz got his chance to play in America during the 2004-05 season for the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) and Dayton Bombers (ECHL). At the end of the season he went back to Lugano. Sannitz would go on to score the NLA Championship game winning goal for the 2005-06 season. He still plays for Lugano today.
The final two draft picks for the Blue Jackets in the 2001 Entry Draft were Ryan Bowness and Andrew Murray.
Bowness would go on to play three seasons in the OHL for the Brampton Battalion and Oshawa Generals before heading to St. Mary’s University in Halifax. While at St. Mary’s University, Bowness became involved with the Maritime NHLers for Kids as the Event Coordinator.
After college he went pro and played for the Ontario Reign.
When Bowness’ playing career ended in 2009 he had a 6 month gap between retirement and becoming the Hockey Operations Assistant for the Atlanta Thrashers. In June of 2010, Bowness would become the team’s Manager of Player Development. Bowness was so well liked that when the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg in 2011 he went with them. He would become the Manager of Hockey Operations until September of 2013. Now, Bowness is a scout for the Winnipeg Jets.
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Murray would go on to play four years for Bemidji State University. After graduating Murray would play for the Syracuse Crunch until the Blue Jackets called him up to the big show during the 2007-08 season. He would become a fixture on the team over the next 4 seasons, playing in 181 games and recording 36 points.
Unfortunately, a lower-body injury would sideline Murray for the majority of the 2010-11 season. At the end of the season the Blue Jackets would let him walk. The San Jose Sharks would pick Murray up but at the end of the 2011-12 season would trade him to the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings ended up not signing Murray and the St. Louis Blues jumped at the chance to sign him for the 2012-13 season. However, after a year of playing in the AHL the Blues let Jackman go at the end of the season.
In July of 2013, Murray signed as a free agent with Medvescak Zagreb of the KHL. Over the past two seasons he has played in 105 games tallying 6 goals and 7 assists.
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Elaine is in her first year writing for The Hockey Writers. She will mostly be covering the Columbus Blue Jackets, Lake Erie Monsters, NWHL, and the charitable works all hockey players partake in.
She just ended a two season internship with the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets.