On Thursday, The Athletic's Corey Pronman ranked the Blue Jackets prospect pool 25th overall in the NHL.
We aren't shocked by the ranking, as the organization has a) graduated some big-name prospects to NHL players (Pierre-Luc Dubois/Zach Werenski, come on down) and b) didn't exactly have a full stockpile of draft picks in 2019. Still, there were a few things that we thought were particularly noteworthy about his ranking and analysis:
1) Kirill Marchenko is on an upward trajectory
Marchenko, who was picked in the 2nd round with the 49th pick in 2018, has dominant size and skill but hasn't translated it to the KHL - yet. Pronman rated him the organization's #3 prospect behind Emil Bemstrom and Alexandre Texier, and ahead of some pretty notable prospects - Danill Tarasov, Liam Foudy, and Elvis Merzlikins, to be precise.
Here's Pronman on Marchenko:
He has the potential to not just be a good player, but a great one. I tag him as very good and not higher due to caution he hasn’t produced much yet in league play.
The Blue Jackets did well by snagging a player of his caliber in the mid-second round, but several challenges remain: first, he must show his snuff at the KHL level, and secondly the club must be able to lure him away from SKA, one of the premier franchises in Russia's pro ranks.
2. Gabriel Carlsson has really fallen on hard times
It's hard to believe that Carlsson, who made his NHL debut in the spring of 2017 before playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs, is basically an afterthought at this point. Pronman didn't even rank him among the club's top 17 players, instead listing him as one of six "depth players", alongside the likes of Ryan Collins and Michael Prapavessis.
At just 22, he's still got time to become an NHL player. But with one year left before becoming an RFA, and the Blue Jackets wildly deep blue line, it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see the club move on from their former first-round pick.
3. All aboard the Trey Fix-Wolansky train
Pronman rated Fix-Wolanksy, his number eight prospect in the Blue Jackets system ahead of Eric Robinson (9) and Vladislav Gavrikov (10) a "legit-NHL prospect". Pronman couldn't help but rave about the late-round pick, who will almost certainly become the Cam Atkinson comparison target. Here's Pronman on the talented right-winger:
He has so many tools. He’s an elite passer with the fantastic patience and vision to wait for lanes to develop and make difficult passes consistently. He can make skilled plays on the move and had quite a few highlight reel moments through the season. He also has a very good shot and can pick corners from a distance.
He'll be an interesting player to watch in Cleveland this season, and given his production in a (very) short time there last season (1-1-2 in three playoff games), it seems there's a realistic chance that Fix-Wolansky could become an NHL regular.
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