The Columbus Blue Jackets have several players of their property that are putting up great numbers in whichever league they play in. Prospects are evenly spread out between the Canadian Hockey League, American Hockey League, and NCAA Hockey.
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Oliver Bjorkstrand is having quite the season in addition to his stellar performance at the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championships. In Denmark’s 5 games during the tournament, Bjorkstrand had 4 goals and an assist. He lead Denmark in goals, points, game winning goals (1), powerplay goals (2), and shots on goal (25). Bjorkstrand is a pure goal scorer and showed it during the World Juniors.
Nick Moutrey is known for his physical play, but he has been putting together a very offensively productive season. He has already surpassed his goal and assist totals from last season and leads his new team, the North Bay Batallion, in scoring. Moutrey is in a perfect situation now. He can use his stats from this year to possibly make leverage for a entry-level contract. The Blue Jackets will need to make a decision soon, if they don’t make an offer by June 2015 Moutrey can re-enter the NHL Draft for 2015.
Another noteworthy prospect this season has been Sonny Milano. The 2014 first rounder has been a bright spot on what has been a disappointing Plymouth Whalers team. Milano was second on the team in scoring, but is now first after leading scorer, and LA Kings prospect, Matt Mistele was traded to the Oshawa Generals. Milano now finds himself in a leadership role where he must try and right the ship. I think he will prove to be successful as THE guy for the Whalers. He certainly did for team USA during the World Juniors. Milano was one of few who helped the Americans in the goal scoring category. In USA’s 5 games, Milano had 2 goals and 2 assists.
Alexander Wennberg has found himself in a battle for the Blue Jackets top center prospect with Sonny Milano after the team drafted Milano in the 2014 draft. Alex had a great opportunity to exceed expectations while he was with Columbus for the start of the 2014-15 season, but unfortunately, Wennberg was unable to. He impressed many during training camp and preseason, but he will need to succeed in the AHL first.
Moving to defense, Columbus’ Mike Reilly has had a terrific year for the Minnesota Golden Gophers this season. The junior is second on the team in scoring, and is tied for the lead in scoring among all defensemen in the NCAA. Reilly has a great offensive upside. He can shoot the puck and dish it out to others when he needs to. What Reilly needs to work on is his defensive zone play. He is not the biggest guy at 5’11” and 163 lbs, but Reilly can still be physical and get people out of his crease.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have some really good prospects on their hands, and from where the team stands right now (26th), they could add another very good player to their repertoire as well. At 26th in the league, the team holds the 5th pick in the draft. At that position, I’d imagine they would take Mitchell Marner, a winger out of the London Knights of the OHL. Marner currently leads the OHL in scoring. He is a offense heavy prospect and is a small guy as well. He makes up for his lack of structure with his hands and ability to create space. He would certainly help the Blue Jackets light prospect pool on the wing, that is if the Arizona Coyotes don’t snag him with the pick before. Arizona has already drafted one of Marner’s linemates, Christian Dvorak, and they are showing all kinds of chemistry together.