Photo: Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Mike Reilly capped off a strong 2011-12 season with an invite to USA Hockey's WJC camp (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Sport)
As the Columbus Blue Jackets continue the process of converting the team from cellar dweller to playoff contender, one area they could definitely look to improve is their offensive attack. One Blue Jackets' prospect that could eventually aid that cause would be defenseman Mike Reilly.
Photo: The Columbus Blue Jackets added a talented piece to their defensive corps with the selection of Ryan Murray from the WHL's Everett Silvertips (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The Columbus Blue Jackets had a number of holes to fill in the organization heading into this past weekend’s draft. With eight selections in total, including four in the top 65, the club was in a great position to begin restocking the cupboard, one that was void of both goaltending and forward depth, along with a lack of forward prospects with much offensive potential outside of recently-graduated Ryan Johansen.
Photo: One current Columbus Blue Jackets prospect and one former one faced off at the 2012 Memorial Cup Tournament. Michael Chaput led the Shawinigan Cataractes to the Memorial Cup and was rewarded with an NHL contract, while goaltender Mathieu Corbeil of the Saint John Sea Dogs went unsigned (courtesy of Terry Wilson / CHL Images)
While the majority of Columbus Blue Jackets prospects missed out on post-season play this season – the Springfield Falcons, where the bulk of the organization’s prospects play, missed the playoffs – there were a few that did make enormous contributions to their teams' playoff fortunes. Goaltender Mathieu Corbeil helped lead the Saint John Sea Dogs to a QMJHL Championship, while Michael Chaput was named the Memorial Cup MVP. After the most disappointing season in the club’s history, the Blue Jackets, at the very least, received some rays of hope with the performances of select prospects.
Photo: Defenseman Ryan Murray ended up being chosen as predicted by most, going to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2012 NHL Draft (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
The Columbus Blue Jackets entered the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft needing help at all positions. Holding the second selection overall in the draft allowed Scott Howson and Co. to begin their building efforts in a big way, and they did just that with the selection of defenseman Ryan Murray from the WHL's Everett Silvertips.
Photo: The Columbus Blue Jackets didn't have a first round pick at the 2011 NHL Draft, so second rounder Boone Jenner was the team's top pick at last year's draft (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Columbus Blue Jackets had one of their most disappointing seasons in recent history, and with the likely departure of Rick Nash, the 2012 NHL Draft could to mark a turning point in the franchise's history. Though they missed out on winning the draft lottery, they should still come away with a top prospect with the second-overall selection.