The Columbus Blue Jackets will select third overall

No the NHL Draft Lottery is not rigged nor has the sky fallen in the world of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sure Connor Bedard would have been nice or Adam Fantilli at #2 overall. With the top five draft picks as good as this years there is honestly not a lot that separates the players. Bedard is indeed otherworldly, as for the rest it really depends on the need or needs of an organization.  For the Columbus Blue Jackets #3 is just fine.

Unless you live under a shoe, you know the Blue Jackets have needed a top line center for well, it’s been ongoing for years. With Bedard and Fantilli (both centers) expected to go one-two in this years draft that leaves the Blue Jackets to pick the organizations top line center at long last. But who?

Leo Carlsson, Carlsson has the tools to be an elite top line center. Widely viewed as the best skater in this years draft Carlsson’s great foot work allows him to show off a good blend of speed for his size (6′ 3″.) Carlsson is a true playmaker in the offensive zone. Carlsson is not a shoot first center he looks to set up teammates, although his shot is really good. The young Swedish Carlsson is just as good in the defensive end his transitional play is excellent he has taken a big step and is close to putting it all together. Carlsson would be a great pick if that is who the Blue Jackets want.

PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 16: Will Smith #20 of the United States skates up the ice during the first period of the 2023 BioSteel All-American hockey game at USA Hockey Arena on January 16, 2023 in Plymouth, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

Will Smith, Compared to Leo Carlsson, Will Smith is a bit (just a bit) of a work in progress. Smith is a good skater without a burst in his stride to break away. In the offensive zone Smith shines. Phenomenal hands, above average vision and stick handling coupled with a deadly shot. Smith is not very good in the defensive zone and will need time to develop. He is a work in progress and in the right system, Smith can be a very good player in time.

ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – 2022/05/05: Matvei Michkov (No.39) of Russia U20 seen in action during the Liga Stavok St. Petersburg Cup, hockey tournament match between Russia and Russia U20 at Jubilee Arena in Saint Petersburg.
(Final score; Russia 4:2 Russia U20). (Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Matvie Michkov, A very strong skater with alright speed.  Blessed with strong acceleration and superb edge works. One of the very best shots in this years draft Michkov’s accuracy, power and his quick release will be welcomed by who ever drafts him. Not strong in the defensive end, Michkov who is under contract for three more years in the KHL, will need to begin to apply himself in the defensive zone. If he does that, he has the makings of a very good player.

The Columbus Blue Jackets seem likely to draft a center this year. They need an impactful player and one that is close to being NHL ready as the teams window is soon to be open.

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