CBJ Prospect Rankings: Nos. 5-1 (Midseason)

By Sam Blazer on January 19, 2018 at 1:30 pm
Vitaly Abramov skates away from defenders as he handles the puck

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA Today Sports

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You've seen 10 through 6 of 1st Ohio Battery's midseason prospect rankings.

Emil Bemstrom, Kevin Stenlund, Calvin Thurkauf, Elvis Merzlikins and Andrew Peeke all made the cut. 

Moving to 5 through 1, you'll see players that have been hyped up for a while, and you'll see players that have had some time in the NHL as well. We've considered all nonfull-time NHLers that are under the age of 25. Don't be upset that we included a player or two you don't consider a prospect anymore. 

Here's where the 1st Ohio Battery staff ranked the Blue Jackets prospects during our mid-season checkpoint: 

5. Alexandre Texier

The French second round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft is going to be monitored closely over his entire development. He has mind-blowing stats from his time in the French League. He dominated the under 18 league and the under 20 league before putting up a half a point per game pace in the French Men's league as a 17-year-old in his draft year.

Now playing in the Finnish Liiga against grown men, the 18-year-old is continuing to impress despite uneven ice time. Texier is injured currently, but before that, in 35 games he scored nine goals and put up five assists for a total of 14 points. 

Texier doesn't turn 19 until September of this year, and with how he is performing at such a young age, the Blue Jackets should be excited. This flashy centerman has a lot he can still add to his game despite being uber talented. 

4. Sonny Milano

Currently out with an oblique tear, Milano was having an okay season with the Blue Jackets. He had put up 13 points in 35 games including eight goals and five assists. The offensive dynamo has been looked to on the power play getting time on the second unit. 

After putting up points consistently in the American Hockey League (AHL), the jump to the NHL was imminent. Milano hasn't wowed as many expected but he has outperformed many veterans on the NHL club. It remains to be seen if he'll ever find a spot with the Blue Jackets. 

3. Vladislav Gavrikov

The Russian-born defenseman delayed playing in North America for a year as he signed a deal in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) to play for SKA St. Petersburg. In 47 games thus far, Gavrikov has three goals and nine assists for 12 total points. 

Known more for his defensive acumen than for his offensive skills, Gavrikov was a selection for the World Championships last year. He performed well and showed that he is ready to make the jump. As the possibility of the Winter Olympics looms (Russia may play under Olympic Athletes from Russia due to doping ban), it will be interesting to see if he is selected to represent his home country.

2. Gabriel Carlsson

Despite a tough start to his season in the NHL, Carlsson has been better every game. Having played in the playoffs last year for the Blue Jackets, Carlsson was given a trial by fire.

Putting up two assists this season in 14 games for the Blue Jackets. He has shown good mobility on the blue line and solid instincts. It doesn't look likely that Carlsson will ever be an offensive superstar but his future as a defensive stopper remains bright.

1. Vitaly Abramov

Playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) Abramov started the year where he left off last year, dominating the league. Abramov has posted 56 points in 34 games between two teams. 

Abramov toyed with the idea of playing overseas but eventually decided to stay in North America. Abramov was given the opportunity to play in the World Junior Championships for Russia. He disappointed with one goal in five games, but Abramov was all over the ice creating chances during the tournament. 

The sky is the limit for the diminutive winger. It is a big reason why he is 1st Ohio Battery's number one prospect.

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