Photo: Playing for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL, Boone Jenner has been among the most dominant players early in the season, managing 16 points in 13 games. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
The Columbus Blue Jackets boast one of the deepest prospect pools in hockey; while they don't have many top tier prospects – ignoring Ryan Johansen, of course – they have an abundance of potential second and third line forwards and top-six defensemen.
While the organization hasn't had that much of a makeover in terms of their prospects – apart from Nikita Filatov's departure – there has been noticeable progression in many mid-round picks, improving the organizational depth drastically; for instance, Matt Calvert, Cam Atkinson, Tomas Kubalik, David Savard, and Allen York have all improved their stock considerably.
Matt Calvert will be expected to continue the success he had at the NHL last season where he managed 11 goals in 42 games. (Photo courtesy of Holly Gunning/HF)
While the Columbus Blue Jackets have had a very strong prospect pool for the past few years, their farm team has struggled, failing to make the playoffs in the last three seasons. Last year, the club began a partnership with the Springfield Falcons after having their farm team play out of Syracuse for ten years. The Falcons posted a record of 35-40-2-3, finishing fifth last in league-wide standings.
The team featured some promising young talent, but injuries and NHL call-ups played a vital role in their tough season; not to mention, the Falcons blue line was filled with young and inexperienced – though promising – defenders. The Falcons need improvements in every aspect if they are to be a playoff team this season, but with added depth both up front and on the back-end, and the maturation of younger players, they should be a more competitive team.
Photo: The Blue Jackets took T.J. Tynan in the third round of the 2011 NHL draft with the hope he can develop into a similarly talented player as undersized forwards Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson. (Photo courtesy of DJ Powers/HF)
Over the past decade the Columbus Blue Jackets top 20 prospects would often feature a new face near the top following the annual Entry Draft; however, after dealing their first round selection in the 2011 draft to acquire Jeff Carter, their top 20 remains relatively unchanged. Their second and third round selections – Boone Jenner and T.J. Tynan – crack the top ten, while two second rounders from last year's draft – Dalton Smith and Petr Straka – fall quite a few spots after disappointing seasons.
Eager to make a return to the playoffs and to perhaps extend the length of his stay as general manager, Scott Howson made a splash just prior to the NHL Entry Draft, acquiring Jeff Carter from the Philadelphia Flyers. The deal left the club without a first round pick for the first time in franchise history, but with an already impressive group of prospects and the need to win in the immediate future, the club was able to give up the assets required to pry Carter away from the Flyers.
Photo: A tall, rangy defender, Doug Hamilton will bring both size and a puck-moving presence to a Blue Jackets defense that lacks both. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
Top 10 Prospects:
1. Ryan Johansen, C
2. Nikita Filatov, LW
3. John Moore, D
4. Matthew Calvert, LW
5. David Savard, D
6. Tomas Kubalik, RW
7. Cody Goloubef, D
8. Cameron Atkinson, RW
9. Petr Straka, RW
10. Dalton Smith, LW