Photo: Winger Oliver Bjorkstrand led the WHL in playoff scoring with 16 goals and 17 assists through 21 games. (Courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
When the Columbus Blue Jackets took their best shot at the Pittsburgh Penguins this postseason, their roster was littered with home-grown players like Boone Jenner and Ryan Murray. While the recently graduated prospects were getting a chance to take on one of the NHL's best teams, there were a handful of players making statements in their own respective league's playoffs.
Photo: Winger Sean Collins is one of several big-bodied forwards in the Blue Jackets system. Collins was drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)
The Springfield Falcons, the AHL affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets, are once again fielding a strong group of players and are at the top of the AHL's Northeast Division. Springfield is loaded with NHL quality prospects, many of whom have already seen some time in Columbus.
Photo: Forward Marko Dano is one of three forwards the Columbus Blue Jackets selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft. Dano is currently playing for Bratislava Slovan of the KHL. (courtesy of Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
The Columbus Blue Jackets are an organization with an extremely deep prospect pool. With names like Boone Jenner, Ryan Murray, Dalton Prout, and David Savard echoing through NHL arenas, it seems as though all of its young talent graduated to the NHL. That is not the case.
Photo: Cam Atkinson, who has 10 points in 21 games with Columbus this season, ranks as the top forward prospect in the mid-season Top 20 ranking (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)
The Columbus Blue Jackets still have strong defensive depth and a good amount of young wingers slowly reaching their potential. Unfortunately for Columbus not all of these wingers can be Cam Atkinson or Boone Jenner. Much like the deep defensive core, the Blue Jackets are riddled with gritty forwards that get in the dirty areas, but have trouble finding the back of the net. Although the Blue Jackets have a significant amount of household names, the back-end prospects in the talent pool are not improving nearly as much as they should.