The Columbus Blue Jackets entered the National Hockey League Draft Lottery with quite a few possibilities. They could’ve potentially moved up to the second overall pick, watched the Chicago Blackhawks win the lottery and retain their pick, among other possible outcomes. When all was said and done, things stayed the exact same for the Blue Jackets, and they will move forward with Chicago’s first-round pick at sixth overall as well as their own at 12th overall.
Blue Jackets History at Sixth Overall
The Blue Jackets are very familiar with the sixth overall pick, however it has been a while since they’ve been in that position. Unfortunately, they’ve previously had a lack of luck when they were in the same exact situation. Despite having three sixth-overall selections during their first decade, only one turned into a long-term NHL player, and he wasn’t with the organization for very long.
Derick Brassard has been the most successful sixth-overall pick in franchise history, however he only played parts of six seasons in Columbus before being traded to the New York Rangers as part of the Marian Gaborik trade. Their most recent sixth overall selection was in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, when they selected Nikita Filatov. He is notable for being one of the worst draft picks in the organization’s history, as he only played a total of 44 games for the Blue Jackets. Following his stint in Columbus, he was a member of the Ottawa Senators for nine games before going back to the Russian Kontinental Hockey League.
The final player in this category is Gilbert Brule, who played essentially two full seasons with the Blue Jackets before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers with Raffi Torres coming back in a one-for-one swap. Overall, the organization has had a difficult time when they pick sixth in the draft, however the current administration hasn’t had to opportunity to make up for the previous managements’ mistakes so they’ll certainly be looking to make an impact with this selection.
Blue Jackets’ History at 12th Overall
The Blue Jackets’ history with the 12th overall selection is much shorter, and to this point has seemed positive. They’ve picked 12th once, during the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, where they selected the 2021-22 season’s 18-year-old standout Cole Sillinger. Although it’s difficult to judge a draft pick after a single season, it appears that they added a very effective player the last time they were in these circumstances.
Similarities to 2021 Entry Draft
This is the second consecutive season that the Blue Jackets will have multiple first-round selections, and they find themselves in a very similar position to last July when their top two selections were fifth and 12th. The biggest difference is that they don’t have an additional pick at the bottom of the first round this time around, however they can certainly make a major impact with the two they do have. If they can duplicate their performance and get both of their top selections in the NHL by the end of next season, it will be a major accomplishment but it is fairly unlikely.
Despite it just being a year apart, the Blue Jackets’ needs have changed heavily entering this year’s draft. After getting two legitimate NHL caliber centers in the draft last season, it wouldn’t be a major issue for them to focus on defense or wingers in June, and there’s no shortage of players in those positions.
It’s likely that the Blue Jackets won’t leave Montreal with a player like Shane Wright or Juraj Slafkovsky with the way things turned out at the draft lottery, however they still have quite a few talented players to choose from this June. Things staying the same for them is a positive turn of events for the organization, even if it means less chance of getting a top pick next season.
Getting Chicago’s pick this year is the safest bet, as there would’ve been a high chance of them bouncing back to a higher pick next season if they had ended up with a top two selection. It would’ve been nice for the Jackets’ own pick to move up ten positions, but the odds were against them in that regard. This upcoming draft can catapult the rebuild if Jarmo Kekalainen and John Davidson make the right moves.
William Espy is a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus. He has been writing about hockey since 2016 on various platforms. He currently covers the Columbus Blue Jackets but had a previous stint covering the Calgary Flames.