Retool, rebuild, reshaping, those words have been used a lot recently in describing the immediate future of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Whichever “re” you prefer the Columbus Blue Jackets have sped up the process with a huge night at the 2021 NHL Draft. Blue jackets General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen was aggressive with trades and his draft picks. The Blue Jackets are trending in the right direction.
Before the draft even started the Columbus Blue Jackets traded defensive standout Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blue Jackets got the massive return they were looking for.
For Jones, the Blue Jackets received defenseman Adam Boqvist, the Blackhawks first round draft pick at #12, a 2021 second round draft pick, and the Blackhawks 2022 first round draft pick. The trade felt like a big reach for Chicago as Jones numbers have been in decline the past couple seasons. The Blue Jackets won this trade in a big way.
Next the Columbus Blue Jackets traded the second round draft pick the received for Jones to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Jake Bean. Bean who was a rookie this past season for the Hurricanes is a solid player and one who will gain more ice time in Columbus. Another big win for Kekalainen and company.
Now the first round draft pick, three in all. This is where the Blue Jackets stole the show and won day one of the draft. In desperate need of a front line center, Kekalainen drafted two and walked away with outstanding talent.
First at #5 overall the Columbus Blue Jackets selected from the University of Michigan, center Kent Johnson. Johnson who had an absolutely tremendous, highlight generating freshman season at Michigan. Johnson is a playmaker. This is the kind of center the Blue Jackets have needed. Viewed as the best center in the draft the Blue Jackets were quick and just in selecting Johnson.
Next with the #12 (from Chicago) the Blue Jackets drafted Cole Sillinger, center. Sillinger who’s dad played for the Blue Jackets was a solid pick. Sillinger has a terrific shot and plays a very aggressive brand of offensive hockey, this past season the young center tallied 46 points in 31 games.
With two draft picks the Blue Jackets took two centers. Clearly the focus was squarely on offense. Thus seemingly closing the door on the John Tortorella defense first era of Columbus Blue Jackets hockey.
With the teams last first round draft pick the team selected a defensive player. Corson Ceulemans, for a defensive player to fall all the way to #25 is unprecedented. The Blue Jackets and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen were right to pounce on Ceulemans.
Corson Ceulemans, is strong in the defensive end and a very a strong skater and does not shy away from for shooting the puck. He will head to the University of Wisconsin for development. The Blue Jackets were very fortunate to be able to draft Ceulemans.
After day one of the NHL Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets had perhaps the best day in the franchises history.