by professor ggrib
Even if you are not a horse racing fan, if you are a sports fan or just an interested party, this is a horse race weekend. The Belmont stakes, which is a long race is in the news. But as in my minds eye, I picture the horses lining up and the gates about to open, I, being a Blue Jacket fan am reminded of the horses lining up to become Blue Jackets next year [another long race]. And of course I am thinking of the young hopefuls that hope to jump from where they were last year to the NHL.
Three years ago, Ryan Johansen was a beast for the Portland Winterhawks. This year the “Hawks” are graduating Oliver Bjorkstrand who had a Johan type year. Could he make it to the NHL? And then Michael Chaput who had a good year for Springfield [with 17 well played gamed for the CBJ] is he ready. Of course the 3 first round picks from last year’s draft, Kerby Rychel , Alexander Wennberg and Marko Dano all did well this past year and are slated for Springfield and all of them want to get to Columbus.
Now a new player is entering the mix of young horses waiting to jump through the gate. Samuel Hjalmarsson, former #2 pick of the SL Blues has signed with the Jackets. With a 2 way contract and moving to the smaller North American ice, he may be in Springfield, but at 25, he has some experience and certainly wants to get to Columbus.
ALL the above are forwards…..Tim Erixon, a “D” man with quite a bit of NHL experience is probably the only defenseman ready for full time NHL. Tim is a free agent as is Nikita Nekitin.
There are some D men in the system that are longer term prospects, but seems like the draft needs to obtain some prospects on the blue line.
Of course the potential Umburger move could shake things up at bit, but for now, there are a whole herd of young horses chomping at the bit to race to the NHL