Columbus Blue Jackets Top 20 Prospects


Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Zachary Werenski poses for a photo with team executives after being selected as the number eight overall pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The dog days of summer are finally here for hockey fans. All the excitement of the draft has finally evaporated and Free Agent Frenzy has passed. As of now, NHL teams are holding their prospect development camps to get an idea of how their new shiny toys stack up versus their other prospects.

October appears to be a light-year away. Fortunately for you, Frozen Futures has you covered. Each day we will be going over the Top 20 Prospects for a team in the NHL. From Arizona to Winnipeg, we have you covered.

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The Columbus Blue Jackets lost a key piece to the future in defenseman Mike Reilly who decided not to sign with the team and hit free agency, where he would later sign with the Minnesota Wild.

However, the Blue Jackets did not take a very big hit in the prospect department after Reilly left. Columbus still has plenty of future NHLers including some that could make a big splash in the league.

Taking over for Reilly at the #1 spot is fellow college defenseman Zach Werenski. Acquired at the 2015 NHL Draft, Werenski is a solid puck moving defenseman. Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen shared his pleasure with the smooth skating Michigan D-man at the draft table.

On offense, the Jackets have “prospect firepower” as well. Portland Winterhawks winger Oliver Bjorkstrand was a stand-out all year long. He proved that he could score goals, and in large quantities. He had a total of 63 goals in 59 games. That tops his previous season where he had a measly 50 goals in 69 games. Bjorkstand was named WHL Player of the Year and also broke the Winterhawks record for most consecutive games with a goal with 11. 

Another promising forward is Sonny Milano. Milano was stuck on a rather poor Plymouth Whales team last year, but still impressed audiences. Milano is skilled with the puck and has flashy hands that put on a show each in every game. Defenders are often fooled by his puck magic. He can also produce on the score sheet whether it be goals or assists.

Alexander Wennberg had his first taste of the NHL last season. He had many bright flashes, but it is still clear that he is not ready to produce at his full potential in the major league. Wennberg is a playmaking forward who is looking to break out next year. A strong training camp and pre-season could go a long way, and the Blue Jackets offseason moves bring Wennberg skilled players to work with.

Rounding out the top 5 is another Portland Winterhawk and 2015 NHL Draftee. Paul Bittner fell to the early second round and was scooped up by the Jackets with the 38th pick. Bittner is a hard worker and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. He will stand up to anybody on the forecheck and also carries a blistering shot.

Nick Moutrey is a prospect that I would keep any eye on next season. He was a top target for teams during the OHL trade deadline and carried his success to the playoffs. His first pro season will test him to see if he could become an NHLer and play a 3rd or 4th line scoring role. Others to watch rise are Vladislav Gavrikov, Ryan Collins, and William Karlsson.

Come back to Frozen Futures for the next Top 20 prospects of the Florida Panthers.

Who do you think is the top prospect for the Columbus Blue Jackets? Vote in the poll and let us know in the comments below.

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