With the 2020 NHL playoffs soon concluding teams turn their attention to off season activities. While signing RFAs is the key task for the organization this season there is the draft to prepare for as well. Below are the picks that Columbus currently hold in the 2020 draft:
Number 21 (first round)
Number 114 (forth round)
Number 145 (fifth round)
Number 176 (sixth round)
Number 207 (seventh round)
The draft date has yet to be announced so the time to prepare is unknown. With leagues ending seasons early scouting may be a little sketchy. I believe the players entering the draft this year have the least know about them dating back a decade or more. This may be the most unpredictable draft the NHL has seen or will see in the future.
According to NHL Central Scouting's April 8, 2020 rankings, four of the top 10 North American skaters and 2 of the European skaters play the center position. At number 21 in the draft the Blue Jackets may not have a shot at any of them. But, their best bet may be one of the Europeans (Anton Lundell or Roni Hirvonen). JK's track record shows that there is a high probability of Euro-skaters being drafted.
In 2019 two of the three picks selected European-based players, however those picks were two 4th-rounders and a 7th-rounder.
2018 saw 4-of-6 picks used on Europeans, a 2nd-, 3rd- and two 6th-rounders. Veini Vehvilainen was selected 173 (6th-round).
Texier (2nd) and Bemstrom (4th) were the overseas highlights from the 2017 draft that included a majority selected from Europe (4-out-of-7).
The exception year was 2016 in which there were no European-based players selected. That draft did bring PLD and Peeke into the fold.
Of the 9 picks in the 2015 draft 5 played in Europe including Gabe Carlsson (1st round), Kevin Stenlund (2nd round), Vladislav Gavrikov (6th round) and Markus Nutivaara (7th round).
The 2014 draft was almost completely North American based with one exception, a guy by the name of Elvis (3rd round).
And then we reach JK's first draft in 2013. Wennberg was taken in the 1st-round (number 14) along with 2 other Euro-skaters, Marko Dano (1st round) and Markus Soberg (6th round). Mixed in that draft was the North American-based Oliver Bjorkstrand.
Jarmo's track record of selecting European skaters leads me to believe that his trust his Euro-based scouts. So I will focus on Anton Lundell and Roni Hirvonen.
Lundell played in the Finnish Elite League starting in the 2018-19 season. That season he played in 38 games posting 19 points (9g, 10a). The 2019-2020 season saw him skate in 44 games netting 10 goals and 18 helpers (28 points). He also skated internationally with Finland winning gold in 2018 as a U18 and gold again in 2019 in the World Juniors.