What a 2019-20 season it was for the plucky Columbus Blue Jackets.
After losing two of their best players in Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, as well as 2019 Trade Deadline pickups in Matt Duchene and Ryan Dingle last offseason, almost everyone predicted that the Columbus Blue Jackets would finish at the bottom of the standings.
That turned out not to be the case, as Head Coach John Tortorella was able to do a fantastic job rallying his team up and getting them to play good hockey all season long. They had absolutely fantastic goaltending in Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo, along with great play from blueliners Seth Jones and Zach Werenski.
More from Puck Prose
- New York Islanders Mailbag: Power Play coming through lately, Young players stepping up
- Measuring Fatigue on Oilers Mikko Koskinen
- Minnesota Wild: Kirill Kaprizov deserves more attention for insane rookie year
- Toronto Maple Leafs flash a different side as they get job done without Matthews
- Vegas Golden Knights: Peak William Karlsson returns as he comes up clutch
While it was enough to secure them a spot in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, no one took them as a serious threat, and sure enough they were knocked out of the First Round by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The problem with this Blue Jackets roster is that they lack offensive weapons. They do have some solid pieces in Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cam Atkinson and Gustav Nyquist, but those three don’t compete with the majority of NHL teams’ top forwards.
Unfortunately, Columbus is not the most attractive market for players, meaning they likely won’t be able to bring in much scoring help via Free Agency. Instead, they will have to rely on their current prospects to fill the holes and help in that department in the upcoming years.
As it currently stands, they sit near the middle of the league in terms of their prospect pipeline. While that may not sound overly exciting to Blue Jackets fans, they do have a few gems at the top of this list who are on the right track to becoming fantastic NHL players.
As mentioned in every other Top 8 Prospects article throughout this series, any player who has played in more NHL games than any other league in a season, regardless of the season, will not be included.
With that being said, here are the Top 8 Prospects in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.
Given that he was taken in the First Round (No. 29 overall) at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and has yet to secure a full-time role in the NHL, Gabriel Carlsson almost appears closer to a draft bust rather than a prospect, but at 23-years-old he still does have some time to turn things around. The Swedish born defenseman does have some nice assets, particularly his size as he is listed at six-foot-five.
Carlsson has received short NHL stints in every season since 2016-17, yet has only appeared in 23 regular season games to this point. This past season saw him appear in 41 AHL games with the Cleveland Monsters where he put up 12 points, and an additional six NHL games where he was held pointless.
He is heading into the 2020-21 season on a new two-year extension, which will likely be the last contract he gets in North America if he is not an NHL regular by the time it is up.
7. Trey Fix-Wolansky
Trey Fix-Wolansky was taken in the Seventh Round (No. 204 overall) at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft after an impressive 32 goal, 89-point season with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. After being drafted, he played one more season with the Oil Kings where he was able to improve upon his totals, scoring 37 goals and 102 points.
He appears to be a nice late round find by the Columbus Blue Jackets after being passed completely during his first year of draft eligibility in 2017. He spent the 2019-20 season with the Monsters and had a pretty successful rookie season, scoring 12 goals and adding 14 assists in 43 games played.
The one concern with Fix-Wolansky is his size, as he is just five-foot-six, 176 pounds, however he has been able to put up numbers in every league he has played in to this point.