Recapping The Blue Jackets' Day-Two Draft Picks

By Coby Maeir on June 29, 2023 at 3:28 pm
Gavin Brindley speaks to the media after being drafted by the Blue Jackets.
Coby Maeir
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Blue Jackets selected seven players on the second and final day of the 2023 NHL Draft.

Here's what they, along with Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, director of amateur scouting Ville Siren, and assistant director of amateur scouting had to say:

Round 2 pick 34: Gavin Brindley, C, Univ. of Michigan

Brindley takes pride in playing with bite and snarl. 

"I feel like it's tough to play the game if you don't have that kind of grit to your game," Brindley said. I don't know if that's the Thunder Bay in me...I love playing like that...I'm never gonna get rid of that."

He also spoke highly of his linemate at Michigan and fellow Blue Jacket draftee, Adam Fantilli. 

"He's probably one of the most competitive people I know," Brindley 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 6'2'' 195lb and then moves like a 5' 9" 170lb guy out there."

Brindley, who has family in the Columbus area, spoke highly of the city.

"Columbus is an unbelievable town," Brindley said. "And I think that's a big reason why Johnny Gaudreau wanted to play there. It's a sneaky spot. It's kind of undercover and I feel like that's one of the best things about it."

Kekalainen said Brindley stood out when they watched him play with Fantilli at Michigan.

"Obviously not the biggest guy," Kekalainen said. "But he plays big, competes, and has a lot of heart."

Siren shared Kekalainen’s message and added that he saw them play at Michigan and on the road, as well.

Timmins said that while he's undersized, he's thick through the lower body.

"[He's] really strong and glued to the ice," Timmins said. "That's what Brindley is. He's a hockey rink rat."

Round 3, Pick 66: William Whitelaw, RW, Youngstown (USHL)

Whitelaw is committed to play at Univ. of Wisconsin next season and is excited to play in the Big Ten.

"I think everyone's good there," Whitelaw said. "It's a high, fast, skilled, pace game & I think that fits my game really well. And I think the Big Ten's an unbelievable league and preps you well for the NHL."

Round 4, Pick 98: Andrew Strathmann, D, Youngstown (USHL)

Strathmann said he has a strong relationship with Whitelaw, who was his teammate in Youngstown.

"He's one of my best friends," Strathmann said. "And he works his bag off so I'm really proud of him and happy to be able to do it with him."

Strathmann has also cultivated a relationship with fellow Jackets prospect Jordan Dumais through playing NHL on XBOX. 

Round 4, Pick 118: Luca Pinelli, C, Ottawa (OHL)

Although Pinelli is viewed as an undersized player, he doesn't let that define his game.

"At the end of the day," Pinelli said. "I go in the corners with whoever, however big they are, and I'm really competitive and I got a lot of heart."

He said that he models his game off Mitch Marner's high skill level and high IQ and Brad Marchand's "way he doesn't back down."

Timmins sees similarities between Pinelli and Brindley.

"They're extremely driven and really talented people," Timmins said.

Round 5, pick 156: Melvin Strahl, G, MoDo J20 (J20 Nationell)

Strahl did not attend the draft and thus did not speak to the media. He went 10-12-0 with a 3.35 GAA and an .883SV% with MoDo's junior team in 2022-23.

Round 7, Pick 194: Oiva Keskinen, C, Tappara U20 (Finland Jr.)

Like Strahl, Keskinen did not attend the draft. Over 45 games with Tappara's junior team, he's posted 21-21--42.

Round 7, Pick 224: Tyler Peddle, LW, Drummondville (QMJHL)

Peddle, the last pick in the draft, went through a range of emotions when he heard his name called. 

"I was in complete shock because my father just grabbed me," Peddle said. "it's probably one of the scariest things leading up to it, but it was the best moment I've ever experienced in my life. And I'm grateful I have the opportunity."

Peddle said he's a skilled power forward.

"I play a fast physical game," Peddle said. "And I can shoot the puck and I think my scoring ability is one of my best things."

Note: Blue Jackets draftees Melvin Strahl and Oiva Keskinen were not at the draft.

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