The Columbus Blue Jackets own two of the top dozen picks in next week's NHL Draft.
But you already knew that.
While there's no doubt that the first round of the draft is the most important in determining the future success of a franchise, it's not the only round that matters. One doesn't have to go for an example of this: the Blue Jackets have loads of talent on the team today that was not draft in the first round.
Captain Boone Jenner was second-rounder in 2011, 37th overall. Oliver Bjorkstrand was a third-round selection in 2013, at pick #89. Gus Nyquist was a fourth-rounder in 2008. Vladislav Gavrikov went in the 6th round back in 2015, and fellow defenseman Andrew Peeke was drafted in round two in 2016. Alexandre Texier, who was having a breakout season before an injury put it to bed, was also a second-round pick, going in 2017.
That list doesn't even include former Blue Jackets like Cam Atkinson (6th), Josh Anderson (4th), David Savard (4th), Matt Calvert (5th), and Sergei Bobrovsky, who, like you and I, wasn't even drafted. These are names that are synonymous with Blue Jackets hockey, and not a single one went in round one.
This year carries potential for the Blue Jackets beyond round one as early as the 44th pick, Columbus' second-round pick this summer. It's a spot the Blue Jackets have never drafted from, but they did take Texier 45th overall a half-decade ago. The 44th pick has been successful in recent history, with the Colorado Avalanche taking Paul Stastny in 2005 at the spot — he picked up his 800th career point in his final game of the season this year with the Winnipeg Jets.
After the 44th, Columbus is on the clock again at pick #96. The Blue Jackets lost their third-rounder, 77th overall, to the Jets as part of the Patrik Laine trade early last year. But the 96th comes from Tampa Bay, which the Blue Jackets acquired in the Savard trade. The best pick in this spot in the 21st century has been Jean-Gabriel Pageau, a 2011 pick who celebrated his 250th career point late this season. Columbus is 0/2 with pick #96, taking Jeff Genovy Andrey Plekhanov in 2002 and 2004, respectively.
The Blue Jackets are on the clock twice in the fourth, owning their own pick at #109 and the Toronto Maple Leafs' 122nd pick as a secondary part of the Nick Foligno deal. Both spots will be new to Columbus, who has never drafted from either position in the round.
While those individual spots are somewhat dead spots in the round, but the picks between the two have given franchises the aforementioned Nyquist, Jaccob Slavin, Ben Chiarot, and Drake Batherson had 44 points in just 46 games this season for the Ottawa Senators, who took him 121st overall in 2017.
Round four is just about where the draft ends for Columbus. They lose their fifth-rounder, 141st overall, to the New Jersey Devils. That completes a 2019 trade for Keith Kincaid, who never did appear in a game for the Blue Jackets.
The first of two sixth-round picks, 173rd overall, goes to the Chicago Blackhawks to complete the summer 2021 blockbuster that gave the Blackhawks Seth Jones and the Blue Jackets a bright future. The other sixth-rounder, 186th overall, was acquired for the Maple Leafs in the Riley Nash trade from 2021, but that pick now belongs to the Florida Panthers as a part of the Max Domi trade to the Carolina Hurricanes that, in the most minor of ways, was technically a three-team trade with the Panthers.
The Blue Jackets make their final pick of the draft at #203, which is up two spots from their original 205th overall selection. That one went to the Hurricanes for Gregory Hofmann, but the Blue Jackets gained 203 from the Anaheim Ducks. Columbus hasn't had much luck in round seven, but it's netted them Derek Dorsett, Markus Nutivarra, and Anton Forsberg in drafts past.
In either event, the Blue Jackets are going to have the opportunity to add talent are more than just six and 12 in the draft.