Three first round draft pick two big trades has the Columbus Blue Jackets a better organization

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.

COLUMBUS, OH – MARCH 18: An general exterior view of the Nationwide Arena, site of the first round games of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 18, 2004 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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.

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – JULY 23: With the 12th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets select Cole Sillinger during the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After day one of the NHL Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets had perhaps the best day in the franchises history.

Having not developed into the potential the Detroit Red Wings once saw in him, Dennis Cholowski has been exposed in the NHL expansion draft

The newest NHL team, the Seattle Kraken will be selecting the franchise’s inaugural roster the Wednesday. There are some big named players the Kraken could draft as well as players that simply for one reason or another did not pan out for the organizations that drafted them. Like Detroit Red Wings defensemen Dennis Cholowski whom Detroit has made available for the expansion draft.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 06: Dennis Cholowski #21 of the Detroit Red Wings controls the puck against the Dallas Stars during an NHL, home opening night game at Little Caesars Arena on October 6, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Dallas 4-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings former first round draft pick Dennis Cholowski was selected in 2016 by former Red Wings GM, Ken Holland. Holland and the then Red Wings scouting department really liked Cholowski’s mobility and offensive ability. Yet, oddly enough it has been his deficiencies defensively that have held the 23 year old from grabbing a roster spot full-time.

Dennis Cholowski’s Detroit Red Wings career has been earmarked by inconsistencies defending. He has been brought up to Detroit and sent down to the minor leagues multiple times. At times Cholowski has looked like he was on the verge of a breakthrough only to fall back on old habits, leading to a yo-yo career that has landed him on the unprotected list for the Seattle Kraken to select from.

It would seem that Red Wings General Manager, Steve Yzerman is all but done with Cholowski. On past send downs Yzerman has said that he had given Cholowski a list of things he wanted to focus on while being sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – JUNE 02: : National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announces the Seattle Kraken #2 overall draft position during the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery on June 02, 2021 at the NHL Network’s studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Reports would say that Cholowski had cleaned up areas of his game only to be recalled by the Red Wings and fall back into unproductive ways. It is safe to say that Yzerman grew tired of the lack of development and has chosen to move on.

That means if the Kraken do not draft Dennis Cholowski it is very possible Yzerman could choose to place him on waivers for another team to claim. Detroit could also package Cholowski in a trade.

No matter what happens, it is very possible Dennis Cholowski is no longer part of the Detroit Red Wings organization moving forward.

 

 

Why I believe Detroit Tigers draft pick Ty Madden may have been the steal of the 2021 MLB Draft

At the University of Texas, Ty Madden was the best pitcher on the Longhorns staff. During his college playing days Madden would take a fastball that sat between 90-92 MPH which was a bit underwhelming and transform it into a pitch that now touches 99 MPH routinely. Widely considers one of the top 5 pitching prospects and MLBPipelines #9 ranked overall prospect, Madden fell into the Detroit Tigers lap at pick #32.

DETROIT – JULY 11: A Tiger statue is seen outside of the Comerica Park entrance before the start of the 2005 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby at Comerica Park on July 11, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Last year Ohio State catcher Dillion Dingler who was thought to be first round talent fell to the Detroit Tigers in the second round. This year, was even better. Ty Madden who is nearly MLB ready was an absolute gift to the Tigers.

Ty Madden is a four pitch pitcher. Fastball, Slider, Curve and Changeup. His fastball and slider both grade out at 60. While his curveball  grades a 55 with his changeup coming in at 45. Madden uses his fastball to set up what has become a wicked slider to get outs.

The slider is a Detroit Tigers specialty. It is no exaggeration when I say that every pitcher on the Tigers pitching staff and organization wide throws a slider. Which is good when it is thrown correctly it can be a nasty pitch.

Ty Madden could have easily been the Tigers pick at #3, the team opted for high school pitcher Jackson Jobe. It is not often that a pitcher with the talent and stuff of Madden falls so far. But the Detroit Tigers got a steal.

The Detroit Tigers were the only team to walk away from the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft with two prospects ranked in the top 10. This will do nothing but speed up an already lengthy rebuild. The two draft picks look to set the Tigers future starting rotation.

BALTIMORE, MD – MAY 11: A detailed view of a Big League Chew bubble gum bucket in the dugout prior to the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 11, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

The Detroit Tigers had the second best draft this year as ranked by MLBPipeline. It is not well wishing to think that Ty Madden will be in Detroit perhaps as early as 2023 and cemented in the Tigers starting rotation.

Armed with elite pitching the Detroit Tigers add 6 pitchers to the organization

Scott Pleis, who oversees amateur scouting for the Detroit Tigers does not think so. Al Avila, who is the Tigers General Manager does not think so. A.J. Hinch, who is the Tigers manager does not think so. What is it the three men do not think so? It is that you can ever have too much pitching. The Tigers organization has the top ranked pitching in all of the minor leagues. That did not stop them from adding to the position during the 2021 MLB Draft.

Jackson Jobe, right handed pitcher (RHP), Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma, Ty Madden, RHP, University of Texas, Dylan Smith, RHP, University of Alabama, Tyler Mattison, RHP, Bryant University, Tanner Kholhepp, RHP, University of Notre Dame, Brant Hurter, left handed pitcher (LHP), University of Notre Dame, Jordan Marks, RHP,  USC Upstate and Garrett Burnhenn, RHP, Ohio State have all been selected by the Detroit Tigers.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – APRIL 29: Casey Mize #12 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 29, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

In last years MLB Draft the Detroit Tigers selected all position players and no pitching. That kind of draft is daring as team generally select a few pitchers for organizational depth as well as in case of injury.

This years however the Tigers got back to drafting pitching. The team added some elite arms to add to an already elite crop of pitching prospects. Some will pan out, some will flame out. That is how it goes when drafting prospects.

With the organizations top two picks (Jackson Jobe and Tyler Madden) it is fair to presume those two will at some point soon join the Tigers starting rotation. Giving the Detroit Tigers what looks to be a very nasty group of starting pitching.

Casey Mize- Front line pitcher projection

Tarik Skubal- Front line pitcher projection

Matt Manning- Front line pitcher projection

Jackson Jobe- Has the makeup to be a Front line pitcher projection

Ty Madden- Front line pitcher projection

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 13: A detailed view of the baseball glove and hat used by Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers sitting in the dugout during the game against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park on August 13, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Twins defeated the Tigers 6-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

If it is an arms race the Detroit Tigers organization is in the lead by a long shot. Very soon this team is going to be very fun to watch as the teams future starting rotation is starting is beginning to remind some of the 1990’s Atlanta Braves starting rotation.

It will be fun watching this group grow together and win together.

Day one of the 2021 MLB Draft the Detroit Tigers select two pitchers

Relax Detroit Tigers fans the sky is not falling, Al Avila is not that bad at his job. Detroit Tigers fans and media all shocked that the organization did not select a short stop (SS) in the first round of the MLB Draft can all exhale now. The Detroit Tigers were among the day 1 winners. The two pitchers selected will bolster an already good crop of pitching prospects for the Tigers.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 17: A detailed view of baseballs and equipment bag sitting on the field during the Detroit Tigers spring training workout day at the TigerTown complex on February 17, 2014 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

With the first of the team two first round draft pick the team selected pitcher, Jackson Jobe. Jobe is a rare high school (prep) pitcher selected in the top 10 of the annual draft. The reason is clear, Jobe has a wipeout slider and grades at or near the top of pitching arms in this years draft class. Blessed with a quick arm and solid improvement in his secondary pitches the 18 year old was simply too good for the Tigers to pass up.

Is there risk with drafting Jobe? Sure, but isn’t any draft pick a risk? The upside is as I said far too good to pass up. Jobe’s  athletic delivery that translates into strikes justifies the risk.

Next because the Detroit Tigers are in rebuild mode and did not make the playoffs last season they were awarded a second first round draft pick (competitive balance pick) at #32 where the organization dipped once again into the pitching prospect ranks.

This time it was pitcher Ty Madden who heard his name called. Where to start with Madden? Much like last years draft when the team had catcher Dillion Dingler fall into their lap, Madden who was widely considered at top 10 draft pick and is ranked #9. MLBPipeline had Madden ranked as the third best college pitcher. Madden fell into the Tigers lap at #32.

Ty Madden, bring a lot to the future of the Detroit Tigers pitching with a 99 MPH fastball, a sinker that sits at 90 MPH and a biting 80 MPH slider. Madden could work his way into the Tigers starting rotation in time.

BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 02: A bucket with baseballs on the field before a baseball game between Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays on August 2, 2020 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Short stop or not the Detroit Tigers were a better organization after the first round of the draft. With big name short stops set to hit the free agent market after the conclusion of the season the Tigers could bring one of those in to fill a need.

With the Stanley Cup Champion crowned, the Columbus Blue Jackets offseason officially begins

First a congratulations go out to the Tampa Bay Lightning for winning back-to back Stanley Cups. With that, the Columbus Blue Jackets offseason now begins with some questions and some clues as to how President of Hockey Operations John Davidson and General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen will navigate in the coming days, weeks and months.

PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 12: Columbus Blue Jackets Defenseman Andrew Peeke (2) passes the puck during the third period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 12, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

One nice thing that the Columbus Blue Jackets have done is fill out newly named head coach Brad Larsen’s coaching staff. Sylvain Lefebvre and Pascal Vincent have been named assistants. Filling out the staff allowed for more time to plot for the 2021 NHL Draft including who they will protect and expose in the expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken to choose from.

As for Davidson and Kekalainen, they must and most likely are doing their part in going over trade packages for defensive standout Seth Jones who informed the team that he would like to test the free agent market which is absolutely his right. The Blue Jackets can receive a big haul for Jones but it must be a haul that fills a need. Either another top defensive player or a top line center should be the targets.

One very good thing the Columbus Blue Jackets have going for them is salary cap space. No matter retool or rebuild the Blue Jackets can speed it up with three first round draft picks and cap space. In what is only a guess on my end, this is what the Blue Jackets will do. Sign players, trade players to reshape the roster.

COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 27: The cannon fires before the start of a NHL game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena on April 27, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

If the Blue Jackets use all three first round draft picks that to me spells rebuild. If they trade one or two of the picks that to me spells retool. Not much separates a retool from a rebuild other than in a retool a team is adding players to an already existing roster. A rebuild is a sell off on most of the current roster and starting basically from scratch which takes a bit longer.

It is an exciting time to be a fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This will be a very interesting offseason.

Vacations are necessary

As summer gains momentum, vacation season gains momentum. I do not know about you, but after the year we have all been through I am ready for a vacation. Just a break. Both mental and physical. I mean all things considered I am good mentally. Physically is a different story, but relax I will not bore you with the details. Vacations are more than just a break from the day to day grind, here’s why.

CHICAGO – JULY 22: High winds continue to push the waters of Lake Michigan over the base of the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois on July 22, 2019. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

No matter if you work a job and when you come home you are brain-drained or work a job that demands a lot of physical motions it is important to relax and give your body a break, for more than a regular two day weekend. The brain and body need time off to catch a break and just be.

Vacations also allow us to see another part of the location we choose. It gives us a break from the same old, same old. Sometimes the cities and suburbs we live in can seem like a four walled house. It is nice to get out and get away.

COVID 19, did not allow for social gatherings. I am not a huge fan of gathering with strangers, but maybe I will get over that and embrace what I once did not. I am not opposed to people mind you, I go to farmers markets and other events where there are people. But a different place is slightly different when being with large crowds.

When I do go on vacation I seem to always wind up on a lake or ocean or some form of body of water. Why? It is pretty simple. I find water relaxing. I swim, but I am not a huge swimmer. I sit on the beach or next to a pool and in those simple moments I find that is when I am able to relax and refocus.

1980s ANONYMOUS SILHOUETTED SHRIMP BOAT RETURNING IN ORANGE SUNSET (Photo by W.Metzen/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

As I am set to head out tomorrow on vacation, I am actually looking forward to the drive, stopping for gas and food. It is the little things that after last year I will not take for granted again.

I am looking forward to a week on the beach.

Opinion: Kylo Ren should have taken the Skywalker name

For a movie with some good potential Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, turned out to be mostly disappointing. Not only was it disappointing as a film but to the end of the Skywalker arc. For me the most disappointing moment and one that quite frankly irritated me the most was this scene right here:

Rey Skywalker. REY SKYWALKER!!! What in the world! While it may make some sense it did not make total sense. In my opinion it should not have happened. If anyone should have taken the Skywalker name it should have been Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo.

My reasoning for Kylo Ren who became Ben Solo during the course of the movie and became redeemed like his grandfather Darth Vader for taking the Skywalker is because it was his bloodline.

The story was the Skywalker families. Not a person who took a name that she had no connection to. Ben Solo who was the child of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa, who as it turns out was a Skywalker, it would have helped the story to have Ben Solo take the Skywalker name.

Even if Ben Solo still died he would have done so a Skywalker like his grandfather before him. This would have better connected the story as well as have Ben Solo embrace his true self.

Taking the Skywalker name would have had a deeper impact had a redeemed Kylo Ren taken it as his own name. I think this would have helped the Sequel Trilogy that turned out to be a bit of a mess.

It also would have be better to take for the Star Wars fan base and not help send it into a fury of anger and disappointment. For a movie that had a pretty solid opening scene Rey taking the Skywalker name was the final nail in the coffin to the Trilogy that most fans want to forget.

Columbus Blue Jackets: pros and cons of bringing Nick Foligno back

At the end of the 20014-15 HL season Nick Foligno was named captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Foligno would remain as captain until he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first round draft pick this past NHL regular season. A fixture both on the ice and in the community in Columbus made Nick Foligno a popular figure. As his contract will expire when the Stanley Cup Champion is crowned there has been some chatter the former captain could sign with the Blue Jackets.

VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 8: Nick Foligno #71 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates up ice during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena March 8, 2020 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)”n

Recently Columbus Blue Jackets, General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen and President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson both said that todays NHL is a “young mans league.” So the question is would the Blue Jackets really choose to bring back a 33 year old  Foligno?

There have been players who have served as captain longer than Foligno did for the Blue Jackets. One thing to remember is that being captain of a team is hard work. Players need to constantly reinvent there approach to leadership. In other words they can not allow their voice to become stale.

At 32 years old Cam Atkinson can be a veteran leader as can 31 year old Gustav Nyquist. Being a young mans league two players 30ish years old is probably the max a team should carry in order to allow younger players the ice time they need.

Nick Foligno and his family have said they love Columbus, Ohio. He also said after he was traded to Toronto he would strongly consider signing with the Blue Jackets after the season.

WINNIPEG, MB – APRIL 22: Nick Foligno #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs keeps an eye on the play during second period action against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on April 22, 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

It is my opinion for a franchise on the cusp of a rebuild, that a new voice and new leader is needed. Nick Foligno will always have a special place in the hearts of Blue Jackets fans. He will surely be cheered whenever he comes back in town with the team he plays for.

Again it is my opinion that a new captain is needed as a new dawn of Columbus Blue Jackets hockey is set to embark.

Father’s Day 2021

I can not believe it is here again. Father’s Day, the day to celebrate dad (or the father figure in your life.) This year is a bit more “normal” than last year. This year not only do I get to see my dad, but I get hangout time as well. That is something I will never take for granted again as the global pandemic continues to be further and further behind us I am grateful to see my dad for an extended time.

I took many of the lessons my dad taught me or showed me from leading by example to navigate through the pandemic. Keeping a level head, continue to follow the leadership both local and national and the recommendations they gave.

I was blessed to stay healthy and working the entire time. I also had a job change due to health issues. I believe that is due to both listening and obeying God, my dad as well as government officials.

I took all the steps necessary that would lead to being able to be reunited with my dad on Father’s Day including getting vaccinated. A day I quite frankly had taken for granted for decades. It is so true, you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone.

I hosted a Memorial Day cookout and my mom and dad came to my house. It was a great day! But, if you are like me that was a much too short day. Not to mention I had other family members come over so my attention was not solely focused on one person.

The reason I am so excited to be able to hangout with my dad, is we are both older. I have no idea how long either of us have left on this earth. God holds the days, I just live them with gratitude.

This year giving my dad a Father’s Day gift will mean a little more, but it is only a small token of the love and deep appreciation I have for my dad.