Below is the inaugural edition of the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect awards. The Blue Jackets remain among the bottom feeders in the NHL standings though unlike other teams who've languished at the bottom of the standings for several years, they lack a large stable of elite young talent. Instead there is a mix of moderately skilled, hard-working forwards and defensemen with loads of unrealized high-end potential.
Team Depth Chart of NHL Prospects
- Depth and talent of prospects at pro level
- Depth of play making centers
- Deep pool of NHL ready defenders
- Lack a big physical presence at forward
- Goaltenders still a long way from NHL
- No premiere scorers at the wing
Legend of Players' Leagues
- Playing in N.A. Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL, etc.)
- Playing in CHL (OHL, QMJHL, WHL)
- Playing in NCAA
- Playing in Europe
- Playing in Junior 'A' (USHL, BCHL, AJHL, etc.)
- Not Categorized Yet
The Blue Jackets don't exactly have any blue-chip prospects currently playing NCAA hockey, but they've got a number of players who could potentially contribute to an NHL lineup in the near future. Undersized-center T.J. Tynan has quite a bit of offensive potential, while wingers Seth Ambroz and Jake Hansen have looked promising this season. On the back-end, Miami's Will Weber has been one of the top defensive defensemen in the CCHA. The club's lone prospect playing overseas, Anton Forsberg has been progressing better than expected, and at this point, looks to have NHL potential.
It's been nearly five years since the 2007 NHL draft and the Blue Jackets top two selections are no longer with the organization. Not only that, they've only managed to get 24 games of NHL experience for their bottom five picks. Of their seven total selections, four went the NCAA route, three of whom are currently in their fourth and final season.
At this point, the jury is still somewhat out on how the organization did in the 2007 draft; it will likely depend on the progression of Weber, Hansen, and goaltender Allen York. The outlook however isn't too promising.
The Springfield Falcons are off to another mediocre start this season, having gone 14-15-1 through 30 games, but there have been some positives. For the first time since Dan LaCosta was putting up decent numbers in Syracuse, the Blue Jackets have had decent goaltending in the minor affiliate this year – Manny Legace has been a stabilizing force between the pipes. The team also has more veteran firepower up front than they had in years prior. Yet, with a young defensive core and a slow start to the season, the team currently sits outside of the playoff picture.