Photo: The 2nd overall pick in 2012, Ryan Murray’s 2012-13 season in Everett was cut short by a shoulder injury (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
The Columbus Blue Jackets were eliminated from playoff contention on the last day of the season when the Detroit Red Wings picked up their 24th victory to bring its point total to 56. Despite coming up a point short from its second trip to the playoffs, the new look Blue Jackets exceeded expectations after adding depth forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov from New York. A mid-season trade brought Marian Gaborik over from the Rangers and the star winger finished with 27 points after posting 19 with New York.
Photo: Columbus’ 37th overall pick in 2011, Boone Jenner set career-highs with 45 goals and 82 points for the OHL’s Oshawa Generals in 2012-13 (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
The Columbus Blue Jackets have a ton of depth along its blue line with a prospect class led by players such as Ryan Murray, Mike Reilly, and Dalton Prout. Its defenders seem to be improving consistently and its undersized forwards keep getting quicker. Cam Atkinson and Boone Jenner lead the playmaking forwards with quick routes to the net and crisp passing. Columbus’ prospects awards shed light on some of the key players who we could see dominating the NHL in a few short years.
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.
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.
Photo: Winger Cam Atkinson had a stellar month of December, managing 18 points in 12 games. Atkinson is one of several Blue Jackets prospects who will get a chance to play in the NHL when the season resumes. (Bob Frid/Icon SMI)
Cam Atkinson could not have got hot at a better time. He managed eight goals, 10 assists with the Springfield Falcons, and finished with a plus-nine rating in 12 December games, making him the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month.