directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Jackets officially eliminated....eyes turn to draft...

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jackets officially eliminated....eyes turn to draft...

With the Jackets officially eliminated from playoff contention after the Nashville Predators grabbed a point from Detroit this afternoon its time to look at the draft.

Currently the Jackets sit in the 6th spot with 4 games left to play. From the research I've done there are a couple of tiers making up the top 12 including 4 potential franchise defenders. Here are some names and some pictures (courtesy of HFBoards) of the top 12 and what some of them project to:

1st tier
Steve Stamkos - center - Franchise player, a potential hall of fame player in the mold of Mike Modano/Joe Sakic

2nd tier
Drew Doughty - franchise defensemen with most offensive upside, very gifted with the puck
Zack Bogosian - franchise defensemen, moving up draft charts quickly, solid all around d-men, does everything well
Alex Pietrangelo - franchise defensemen with good size, great on both sides of the puck, probably best all around defensemen, some compare to Chris Pronger
Nikita Fitalov - left wing - Elite offensive 1st line centre. Potential franchise player he's the second best forward in the draft
Luke Schenn - top 2 shut down defender, said to be the hardest hitter in the draft
Cody Hodgson - center - All around player: Great offensively, great defensively, future captain. Potential franchise player

3rd tier
Kyle Beach - left wing - BIG TIME boom/bust player. If he reaches his potential and has a good head on his shoulders, he will be a franchise player in the mold of Ryan Getzlaf. If he busts, he will be a Simon type
Colin Wilson - center - Potential 1st line player, awesome defensively. Future captain.
Tyle Myers - defense - Top 4 defender. 6' 7" has a chance to be a poor man's Chara.

This is said to be the strongest daft since 2003 and the Jackets will have two first round picks in it. One should definitely be in the top 10 and the other, Colorado's pick, could be anywhere from 16 to 30 depending on how they do in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

So *if* the Jackets hang onto their pick, you can expect one of the names above to be a Jacket at the end of June. However, I think that is a big *if* as the Jackets will be exploring every opportunity to improve their team and that will most certainly include trades and putting their first round picks in play.


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