Blue Jackets Improve Standing By Six Spots In The Athletic's Annual Prospect Ranking

By Jacob Nitzberg on September 1, 2021 at 11:25 am
Kent Johnson skates with the puck.
University of Michigan

The accolades keep coming in after the Blue Jackets assembled an impressive draft class.

Today, The Athletic's Corey Pronman ranked the Blue Jackets' pipeline at 13th overall, which is a bump up from where they were a year ago, at 19th overall. The eligible skaters for these rankings are 22 years old or younger as of Sept. 15, 2021, so he thinks quite highly of the Blue Jackets' draft class, along with the acquisition of Adam Boqvist. 

According to Pronman, the top 13 U-23 players in the Blue Jackets' pipeline sorted by potential are: 

  1. F Kent Johnson (1st round, 2021)
  2. F Kirill Marchenko (2nd round, 2018)
  3. F Cole Sillinger (1st round, 2021)
  4. D Corson Ceulemans (1st round, 2021)
  5. D Adam Boqvist (Drafted by CHI, 1st round, 2018)
  6. F Dmitri Voronkov (4th round, 2019)
  7. F Liam Foudy (1st round, 2018)
  8. F Alexandre Texier (2nd round, 2017)
  9. F Yegor Chinakhov (1st round, 2020)
  10. D Stanislav Svozil (3rd round, 2021)
  11. F Emil Bemstrom (4th round, 2017)
  12. F Trey Fix-Wolansky (7th round, 2018)
  13. D Guillaume Richard (4th round, 2021)

Those are the 13 players currently in the pipeline that Pronman expects to play in the NHL at some point in their career if they haven't already. He is on the fence about defenseman Samuel Knazko, forward James Malatesta, goaltender Daniil Tarasov, forward Tyler Angle, and defenseman Nikolai Makarov, all of whom he asserts "have a chance to play" in the NHL.

Pronman expects five of the Blue Jackets' 2021 draft picks to play in the NHL, and two more have a chance to do so. That's a pretty good haul. Notably, Alexandre Texier and Emil Bemstrom are quite low on the list, despite having NHL minutes under their belt. That's partly due to the high ceilings of Johnson, Marchenko, and Sillinger, among others. It's also due to the rather underwhelming play of Texier and Bemstrom in their short NHL careers thus far. Both players have battled through injuries, so the Blue Jackets are hoping for a clean bill of health for Texier (22) and Bemstrom (22). 

Liam Foudy also appears at #7, and he's another example of potential not quite translating to the NHL level yet. Including playoffs, Foudy has 36 NHL games under his belt with just one goal. There's still time for the 21-year-old forward to figure it out, but it'll be tougher with the additions the Blue Jackets made at forward through the draft.

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