The Blue Jackets Have Been Waiting 23 Years For Adam Fantilli

By Coby Maeir on June 30, 2023 at 10:15 am
Michigan Wolverines forward Adam Fantilli (19) skates during the Faceoff on the Lake outdoor NCAA men s hockey game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Good things come to those who wait.

For the Columbus Blue Jackets and their fans, they've been waiting 23 years for a player like Adam Fantilli.

In most years, Fantilli would be the slam-dunk No. 1 overall pick. But, this year, he falls to No. 3, and is not only the best prospect in Blue Jackets history, but the first franchise-changing center they've ever drafted.

"Obviously, that's exciting and I'm honored to have these types of expectations," Fantilli said when asked about being the franchise's No. 1 center. "So hopefully I'll be able to meet them and I just want to get there and work as hard as I can and compete as hard as I can and hopefully be the best version of myself I can be."

Not only does Fantilli possess the game-breaking ability, snarl, and physical traits to be an elite No. 1 center in the NHL, but he has elite character and personality to go along with it.

"He's probably one of the most competitive people I know," Gavin Brindley, Fantilli's linemate at Michigan and fellow Blue Jackets draftee, said. "He would do anything to win on and off the ice. No matter what it is. He's a freak of nature. He's 6-foot-2, 195 pounds and then moves like a 5-foot-9, 170-pound guy out there."

The Blue Jackets have never had a player like Fantilli before, and that includes Rick Nash, who was a great Blue Jacket in his own right. As great as Nash was, Fantilli can be even better while doing it at the center position. 

Fantilli doesn't turn 19 until opening night of the regular season, but make no mistake, he is the new face of the franchise.

The waiting is over, Blue Jackets fans. You have you're franchise No. 1 center. 

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