CBJ Draft History: A Look Back at Third Round Selections

By Peter Fish on June 21, 2019 at 1:20 am
Feb 14, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (70) makes a save as right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand (28) goes after the loose puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Blue Jackets 6-3
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a history of finding value with their third-round selections since 2012. And since that's currently their highest selection for the 2019 NHL Draft, now is a good time to look back at the players and where they are now. Keep in mind that roughly 30% of third-round picks make it to the NHL.

2012: Joonas Korpisalo

The Blue Jackets' backup goalie, who may be the starter next season, was taken with the first pick in the third round by a team that was about to overhaul its hockey department by bringing in John Davidson.

Korpisalo hasn't blown the Blue Jackets away with his play, but when called upon for extended periods of time, he has shown himself to be capable. The fact of whether he will be a starter or a career backup remains to be determined, but for a third-round pick, he has done well.

2013: Oliver Bjorkstrand

This was the first third-round selection by the Blue Jackets in the Jarmo Kekalainen era and they knocked it out of the park. It took him two more seasons in the WHL, where he put up a measly 109 and 118 points, respectively, before he made the jump to professional hockey. In his first two seasons, he jumped between the AHL and NHL before solidifying a spot for himself with the Jackets in 2017-18.

In his first full season in the NHL, he put up a respectful 40 points, but this past season was a struggle for the young Dane before something clicked with 10 games left in the season. In the last 10 games, Bjorkstrand scored nine goals and picked up two helpers, which helped push the Blue Jackets into the playoffs and brought his point total up from 25 to 36.

2014: Elvis Merzlikins & Blake Siebenaler

After four seasons as the starting goalie in Lugano, Elvis is in the building right as the starting job in Columbus is up for grabs. Merzlikins will have every opportunity this off-season and preseason to prove that he is the next starter for the Blue Jackets, but will being going up against a previous third-rounder in Korpisalo for the job. It's likely that his first season in North America will be either as the starter or in a 1A/1B situation with Korpisalo until one of them is able to establish themselves as the starter.

There is a lot of deserved hype around Merzlikins for next season, but fans may have to temper their expectations a bit because the angles are different on smaller North American ice, and there is a large skill level difference between the Swiss League and NHL.

Siebenaler he was a miss, and this past season was traded to the Penguins.

2015: Keegan Kolesar

Kolesat hasn't made it to the NHL yet, and isn't in the Blue Jackets system anymore, but Columbus certainly found value in him by sending him to Vegas in exchange for a second-round pick, which became Alexandre Texier.

2016: Vitali Abramov

Another player that didn't make it to the NHL as a part of the Blue Jackets and was apart of Kekalainen's second-tier group of prospects, but whom Columbus found value for him by including him in the trade for Matt Duchene. After the trade, he did play one game with Ottawa, but spent the majority of the rest of the season in AHL Belleville.

2017: Daniil Tarasov

While Merzlikins is the goalie of the present in Columbus, Tarasov is very much the goalie of the future for the Blue Jackets. In his last season with Toros Neftekamsk in the VHL, he was sixth in GAA and 12th in save% of goalies with more than 20 games played, while backstopping Russia's U20 team.

He will spend next season on loan with Ässät in Liiga and could find himself in the AHL as early as next season. The future is bright for this young netminder.

2018: Marcus Karlberg

It is too early to tell if Karlberg will be the next solid third-round pick, but he played 13 games and picked up 12 points for Leksands IF J20 before moving up to Leksands IF in the second tier of professional hockey in Sweden. He didn't put up may points there, but did help his team move up from the second-tier league to the SHL for next season.


Get excited Columbus, because even though the Blue Jackets first pick in the 2019 NHL Draft isn't until the third round, they have a long history of finding value and talent.