Examining if the Columbus Blue Jackets should draft a center in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft

For a while center was a position of both concern and need for the Columbus Blue Jackets. With the recent additions of Jack Roslovic (came to Columbus via trade) Kent Johnson and Cole Sillinger both first round draft picks last year the center’s are starting to look up. The Blue Jackets have a need at LW (left wing) but if one of the elite centers is there at #6 should GM Jarmo Kekalainen make the selection?

Last year I was beyond thrilled that Kent Johnson was there when the Blue Jackets made the teams first, first round draft pick at #5. Johnson projects as a top line center and when all is said an done will be right around an 80 point player.

COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 24: Cole Sillinger #34 of the Columbus Blue Jackets looks to pass the puck during the first period of a game against the Edmonton Oilers at Nationwide Arena on April 24, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

The fact that Cole Sillinger was there at #12 in the first round was next to unbelievable. Sillinger developed into a solid player and earned more minutes as the season moved along. Blessed with a great shot and much improved defense, Sillinger will be a core player for years to come.

So the question is if a player like Matthew Savoie is still on the board at #6 should the Blue Jackets make the selection? That would mean that Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner would almost certainly move back to wing. It would also give the Blue Jackets four solid centers with a lot of upside.

By drafting a player like Matthew Savoie it would give the Blue Jackets a great 1-2 punch at the top six forward. Savoie is a player who is as skilled and polished as they come. Many are projecting him to be right around the 80 point player Kent Johnson projects to be.

KITCHENER, ONTARIO – MARCH 23: Matthew Savoie #93 of Team Red skates against Team White in the 2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on March 23, 2022 in Kitchener, Ontario. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)

As I said the Blue Jackets need a LW, but the best player available also should be and needs to be in play. In my opinion if a player like Savoie is there, the choice is rather simple, draft him. Give your team four very good centers.

The Blue Jackets also pick again in the first round at #12 in the first round so there would still be time to draft a LW, like Ivan Miroshnichenko.

I am not a GM, and can only offer hypothetical scenarios. I prefer scenarios that are plausible. So what I offer and what the Blue Jackets do are two different things. In other words we shall see.

What do you think? Should the Blue Jackets draft a center when the #6 pick rolls around? Leave a comment and let me know.

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