If The Lottery Holds Serve, The Columbus Blue Jackets Will Draft Adam Fantilli This Summer — What Would He Bring To The Table?

By Ed Francis on May 1, 2023 at 1:45 pm
Is Adam Fantilli destined to become another Michigan Wolverine making an NHL career in Columbus?
© John Mersits / USA TODAY NETWORK

There is no question who the top pick in this summer's NHL Draft will be.

Connor Bedard will be the top selection in July and if he stays healthy, is destined for greatness.

But there's also no question about who will go number two. 

And for the Columbus Blue Jackets and their fans, Adam Fantilli is a name that they might become very familiar following the NHL Draft Lottery scheduled for Monday, May 8th.

Fantilli is a near lock to be drafted second overall this summer, and selecting second overall is where the Blue Jackets will find themselves if the lottery shakes goes without any surprises. While that is certainly not a guarantee, there is only one team (the Anaheim Ducks, who have the best chance at the top pick) with a better chance to pick second than the Blue Jackets. 

So what would Fantilli bring to Columbus? Here are five things to keep in mind as the lottery nears:

  • Fantilli is a number one pick most years. Players like Bedard are exceptionally rare, and they just happen to share a draft class. Fantilli is likely the number one pick in each of the last six years, with 2016's top pick Auston Matthews the best example of a time Fantilli wouldn't have been the first name called.
  • The 18-year-old Ontario native is currently a Michigan Wolverine. Columbus taking a Wolverine in the top ten is becoming a thing. This would be the third time in eight years that the Blue Jackets selected a Michigan skater with a top pick; Zach Werenski went 8th overall in 2015 and Kent Johnson number five in 2021. 
  • Fantilli scored 30 goals and added 35 assists in just 36 games with the Wolverines this season. For comparison, Johnson had eight goals and 29 assists two years ago in nearly as many (32) games. For his efforts, Fantilli won the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey. If he ends up with the Blue Jackets, he'd join Johnny Gaudreau as Baker Award winners in Columbus.
  • Like Bedard, Fantilli is a natural center. Unlike Bedard, Fantilli has tremendous size (6'2", 190) for his age. There are little weaknesses to his game: he's a solid defender, he's an excellent passer, has a great shot, supremely intelligent, the list goes on. Again, this guy is the number one pick most drafts.
  • This. Just, this.

It's fitting that the top two selections come via the lottery, because there's little question that it will be not one, but two, franchises who have their fortune's flipped on May 8th. 

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