Columbus Blue Jackets added NHL players at 2008 Draft despite whiff at sixth overall

By Richard Greco
Matt Calvert - Columbus Blue Jackets

Photo: Fifth round pick Matt Calvert suited up for his 65th career NHL game on Monday, which graduates the winger from prospect status at Hockey's Future. (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)

The Columbus Blue Jackets entered the 2008 NHL Entry Draft as a team in rebuilding mode. The 2007-08 season was the first full year for Mike Priest as President and Scott Howson as General Manager of the club, and because he became GM just prior to the 2007 Draft, the 2008 class was one of Howson's first chances to make a mark on the future of the franchise.

The new regime hovered around .500 during the 2007-08 season but missed the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. Late in the season, captain Adam Foote was traded to Colorado and Rick Nash was named the fifth captain in team history. Although the Jackets swung for the fences with their top-10 pick in 2008, it ended up being mid-to-late round draft choices that have made the biggest impact in Columbus.  

Nikita Filatov, LW, CSKA Moscow 2 (Russia) – 1st round, 6th overall
Status: Bust
NHL games played: 53

Filatov came into the draft deemed a key playmaker that was ready to make an impact on professional hockey. The expectations were wrong.

Following the draft, Filatov ventured to Syracuse to join the Crunch in the AHL. He had 32 points (16 goals and 16 assists) in 39 AHL games while also earning two separate four game call-ups to the NHL. The Moscow native showed signs of potential and scored four goals in his first NHL stint. The 2009 World Junior Championship was just another chance for Filatov to put his ability on display. After being selected as Russia’s captain, he led the tournament with eight goals en route to a bronze medal finish.

After scoring two goals in 13 games with Columbus during the 2009-10 season, Filatov was loaned CSKA Moscow of the KHL. He put up 22 points in 26 games and returned to the WJC as Russia’s captain for the second consecutive year. He played the role of a passer in the 2010 tournament and registered five assists in six games.

The 6'0 winger would get another chance to prove he could play at the NHL level. He played in 23 games with the Blue Jackets in the 2010-11 season registering seven points, all assists. He continued to play an average game in the AHL and registered 20 points through 36 games with Springfield that season.

On June 25, 2011 the former sixth overall pick was dealt to the Ottawa Senators for a third round pick, which would turn into T.J. Tynan. Filatov’s fortunes would not change much with the Senators. He had an assist through nine games in the NHL and registered 12 AHL points before being loaned CSKA Moscow of the KHL again in 2011-12.

Filatov signed a contract with the KHL's Salavat Yulaev in May, 2012 and was not tendered a qualifying offer by Ottawa in June. He currently has 21 points through 45 games in Ufa, where he is averaging a KHL career low 12:36 of ice time per game. 

Cody Goloubef, D, University of Wisconsin (WCHA) – 2nd round, 37th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL games played: 5

Goloubef played at Wisconsin for two more seasons after he was drafted, posting 13 and 14 points respectfully. In 2009, he competed on Canada’s WJC team where he had a plus-10 rating and eight penalty minutes. After his junior year at Wisconsin, the Ontario product got his first taste of professional hockey.

Through 50 games with Springfield, Goloubef posted 17 points (five goals and 12 assists) in his rookie season. The stay-at-home defender played decent in his own zone and was forced to start taking the body at the professional level. Last year, his point total dropped to 12, but Goloubef was able to dish out 11 assists. On March 31st, 2012 the 6'1 defender made his NHL debut against the St. Louis Blues. He played 11 shifts for six minutes of ice time and posted a plus-one rating in 5-2 triumph.

Columbus’ system is deep with defensive talent, and as the lockout forced NHL ready players to return to the AHL, Goloubef was not receiving much ice time to start this season. He has recently returned from a broken hand that had him sidelined after only skating in 11 games. In the eight AHL games since his return, he has two goals and just as many assists.

An injury to Adrian Aucoin in Columbus opened up room for Goloubef on the Jackets' blue line and he was recalled on February 4th. He has yet to crack the score sheet through his first four NHL games while averaging around 14 minutes of ice time per game.

Steven Delisle, D, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL) 4th round, 107th overall
Status: Prospect (NYR)
NHL games played: 0

Delisle returned to Gatineau after Columbus snagged him in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Draft. The 6’5 defender registered 30 points (25 assists) and 94 penalty minutes with the Olympiques. He stayed in juniors for his final year of eligibility in 2009-10 and was named Gatineau’s captain. He would not finish his junior career in the western Quebec city, because was dealt to Rouyn-Noranda for winger Ben Miller. Between the Olympiques and Huskies, Delisle registered 29 points.

His career took a turn for the worst when playing for the Fort Wayne Kornets during the 2010-11 season. A shoulder injury required the blueliner to undergo surgery, and after skating in just six games, he was shut down. Delisle would return in 2011-12 and skate in six games with Springfield before being sent to the ECHL’s Chicago Express. He would register four points in 38 ECHL games.

Delisle would have a change of scenery for the 2012-13 season. The Quebec product was sent to the New York Rangers along with Rick Nash in exchange for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a 2013 first round pick. Delisle has skated in four games with the Connecticut Whale, but has spent much of his ice time with the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors with 15 points in 43 games.

Drew Olson, D, Brainerd High Warriors (MN HS) – 4th round, 118th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL games played: 0

After being drafted as an 18-year-old, Olson spent the 2008-09 season with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. Through 36 games with Omaha, the 5’11 defender posted eight points. The next fall, the Minnesota product enrolled at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

He worked as a stay-at-home defender through his freshman and sophomore seasons and combined to post six points through 67 collegiate games. Olson continued working the blue line in his junior season and improved his offensive game with eight points (seven assists). He is off to his best start this year and has posted six points and 22 penalty minutes midway through his senior season.

Olson will play for Springfield next season if the Jackets choose to sign the defenseman, but he still has a while before he can be considered a candidate for an NHL call-up.

Matt Calvert, LW, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) – 5th round, 127th overall
Status: NHL Player
NHL games played: 65

Following his selction in the 2008 draft, the 5'10 Calvert returned to Brandon for his last two years of junior hockey. He was named team captain in his final season and had a career-high 99 points (47 goals and 52 assists) in 68 WHL games. The Wheat Kings hosted the Memorial Cup in 2010 and despite making it to the finals were blown out by a stacked Windsor Spitfires team led by Taylor Hall (EDM).

Calvert got his first taste of professional hockey during the 2010-11 season. He split time between Columbus and Springfield and had 20 points through 42 NHL games. He would only play in 13 NHL games for the 2011-12 season, but continued to put up solid numbers in the AHL.

Before getting the call to the NHL after the lockout this season, Calvert developed chemistry with Cam Atkinson and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault on the power play. That chemistry, along with a good training camp, directly correlated to Calvert’s name making Columbus’ roster for the season opener.

Calvert went down with an injury and got off to a slow start in the NHL this season, but he has registered his first two points of the season in his last three games. Calvert skated in his 65th career NHL game and graduated from prospect status on February 11th.

Tomas Kubalik, RW, HC Plzen (Czech Extraliga) – 5th round, 135th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL games played: 12 games

Kubalik spent the 2008-09 season playing for HC Plzen in the Czech Republic. He left a lot to be desired after only registering two points in 32 games in the Czech league. The right handed forward’s luck did not change in the 2009 WJC and he was held to two assists with a minus-1 rating through six games.

The winger had a breakout year playing for the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL during the 2009-10 season. He posted 75 points (33 goals and 42 assists) in 58 games in the CHL. He returned for his second stint in the WJC and had nine points in six games with the Czech team.

Kubalik made his professional debut with the Falcons at the start of the 2010-11 season. After showing a balanced offensive game with 24 goals and 29 assists, Kubalik made his NHL debut. He had two assists in four games with Columbus during his rookie pro season.

Not much changed for Kubalik during the 2011-12 season. He spent 50 games in Springfield, posted 23 points and saw limited time with Columbus. Kubalik may be in the same boat this season. Although multiple injuries created opportunities in Columbus early in the season, Kubalik has yet to get his chance.

Brent Regner, D, Vancouver Giants (WHL) – 5th round, 137th overall
Status: Bust
NHL games played: 0

Regner would return to Vancouver for his last year of junior hockey eligibility in 2008-09. The versatile defender registered 67 points and a plus-65 rating in 70 games. His 67 points set a club record for the most by a defender.

After inking a three-year entry level contract, Regner spent three consecutive seasons in the AHL. Through his time with Syracuse and Springfield, he was responsible for 70 points in 181 professional games. He showed improvement in his own end through his three years in Columbus’ system. After registering a minus-4 rating his first year, the 6'0 blueliner combined for a plus-9 rating through the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

The 23-year-old signed an AHL contract with the Peoria Rivermen, the St. Louis Blues' affiliate prior to the start of the 2012-13 season. Regner has 10 penalty minutes and 12 points in 40 games with Peoria this season.

Cam Atkinson, RW, Avon Old Farms (CT HS) – 6th round, 157th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL games played: 30

Cam Atkinson has the potential to become a steal in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Draft. He was coming off a year where he dominated Connecticut high school hockey with 63 points in 28 games. Shortly after being drafted, the Greenwich native enrolled in Boston College. He had an average freshman campaign with the Eagles with 19 points in 36 games, but he came into his own during his sophomore and junior seasons combining for 105 points in 81 games.

Atkinson saw his professional debut after his junior year and had five points in as many games with Springfield. He split time between the AHL and NHL during the 2011-12 season. He registered 44 points in 51 AHL games and had three points playing with the American team in the 2012 WJC. Healso made his NHL debut with Columbus and registered 14 points in 27 games. He finished the season strong with six points in his final two games.

Atkinson left the AHL this January with 38 points, good enough to leave him among the league’s top five scorers. He played three games with Columbus before a lower body injury sidelined him on January 27th.

Sean Collins, C/LW, Waywayseecappo Wolverines (MJHL) – 7th round, 187th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 0

Sean Collins has the size to be a power forward, but not the hands. Through his career at Cornell University, Collins grew into his 6’3, 205-pound frame and learned to hold his own in front of the net. By the time he left Ithaca, Collins had 57 points in 136 games. While not playing anywhere near a point-per-game rate, the Saskatoon product registered 62 penalty minutes in college.

After his senior season at Cornell, Collins made his professional debut in five games with Springfield last year. He has returned to Springfield this season and has 14 points and 12 penalty minutes in 42 games as a rookie.