With the Blue Jackets likely to lose a couple of assets, they’ll need some reinforcements. So, let’s see who the Blue Jackets could call up for next season and who they have in their farm system.
2018-19 Top 10 Columbus Blue Jackets Prospects
1. Liam Foudy, C, London Knights (OHL) & Cleveland Monsters (AHL)
HT/WT: 6-1/181 lbs
Drafted: 18th overall in the 2018 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets
Foudy is easily the best prospect in the Columbus Blue Jackets system. He’s a great play-making centreman. Last season, he suited up in 62 games for the London Knights. He recorded 36 goals and 32 assists. He also played in 11 OHL Playoff games for the Knights, in which he tallied 6 goals and 6 assists. After the Knights lost to the Guelph Storm in round two, Foudy packed his bags for Cleveland, Ohio and joined the Cleveland Monsters. He played in 8 playoff games for the Monsters and was pretty quiet. Although, he did manage to tally two goals.
In terms of Foudy’s playing style, he reminds me of a poor man’s Connor McDavid. He’s not anywhere close to McDavid’s talent level, but he loves carrying the puck from zone to zone. He’s got great stick-handling and he tends to always find open spots to capitalize. In addition, he’s a scoring threat in high traffic and his passing is NHL ready.
2. Alexandre Texier, C/LW, KalPa (Liiga), Cleveland Monsters (AHL), Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
HT/WT: 6-0/194 lbs
Drafted: 45th overall in the 2017 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets
We haven’t seen too many French nationals become stars in the NHL, but Texier has the skill-set to become one of the best French citizens to play professionally in North America.
Texier played in the Liiga for KalPa and was easily one of the best forwards in the Liiga. His hands are phenomenal. Texier can draw his opponents off with his stick-handling. He’s also got a laser of a shot and loves to park himself in front of the opposing goaltender to try to sneak in a rebound goal.
Last season, he played in 55 games for KalPa. He recorded 14 goals and 27 assists. Once KalPa’s season was done, he came to North America and played for both the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Cleveland Monsters. He played in 8 playoff games for the Blue Jackets and collected 3 points.
3. Veini Vehviläinen, G, Kärpät (Liiga)
HT/WT: 6-1/183 lbs
Drafted: 173rd overall in the 2018 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets
Vehviläinen recently signed his entry-level contract and will likely suit up for the Cleveland Monsters next season. While he’s a tad undersized, he was one of the best goaltenders in the Liiga last season. He appeared in 38 games and recorded a 1.58 GAA and a .933 SV%. If you look at his stats, he’s become much better in net over the past few seasons. His GAA keeps going down and his SV% keeps rising.
Vehviläinen is a hybrid goaltender and is a beast when he’s down on his knees. The only thing that he needs to work on is rebounds. Vehviläinen tends to give up a lot of rebounds off of his chest. He needs to work on his reflexes and ensure that he can get his glove in position to pocket the puck when it ricochets off his chest.
4. Daniil Tarasov, G, Toros Neftekamsk (MHL)
HT/WT: 6-5/185 lbs
Drafted: 86th overall in the 2017 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets
Tarasov has been outstanding in Russia. He recently earned an entry-level contract but due to the amount of goaltender depth that the Blue Jackets have, they decided to loan him to Ässät (Liiga) for next season.
Tarasov is coming off an impressive season with the Toros Neftekamsk. He appeared in 25 games and owned a 1.71 GAA and a .928 SV%. He also played in 17 playoff games and was unbeatable. He posted a 1.87 GAA and a .930 SV% in the playoffs.
Tarasov is a beast in net, but he needs to gain some muscle. At 185 lbs, he’s a bit under-sized given his height. He needs to bulk up next season in Finland.
5. Andrew Peeke, D, University of Notre Dame (NCAA)
HT/WT: 6-3/198 lbs
Drafted: 34th overall in the 2016 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets
The Parkland, Florida native is a great two-way defenseman. The former University of Notre Dame captain is a great stretch passer, a solid shot from the point and has a physical side to his game. He’s a well-rounded defenseman and looks like a carbon copy of Dion Phaneuf.
Last season, he played in 40 games and tallied 3 goals and 21 assists. Prior to his three seasons for Notre Dame, he played in the USHL for the Green Bay Gamblers and proved to be an absolute warrior for the Gamblers. In his 2015-16 campaign with the Gamblers, Peeke recorded 4 goals and 26 assists in 56 games.
6. Emil Bemström, RW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
HT/WT: 5-10/181 lbs
Drafted: 117th overall in the 2017 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets
Emil Bemström is a Swedish sniper. But, he’s not your usual sniper. He can snipe from close range over and over. He’s a natural born goal scorer and looks a lot like former Vancouver Canucks forward Markus Naslund.
Last season, Bemström played in 47 games for Djurgårdens IF. He recorded 23 goals and 12 assists. His goal totals were the highest in SHL and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Next season, he will once again play for Djurgårdens IF as the Blue Jackets have loaned him to the Swedish club.
7. Kirill Marchenko, RW, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL), SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL), SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), SKA-Varyagi im. Morozova (MHL)
HT/WT: 6-3/187 lbs
Drafted: 49th overall in the 2018 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets
Marchenko is a crafty right winger. He’s always finding space and creating scoring chances. At the WJC-18, he truly showed to the world that he’s an unstoppable force. He drove past defenders, created goals off of wrap-around assists and showed off his lethal wrist shot.
Last season, Marchenko played in the MHL, VHL and KHL. He played one game in the KHL for SKA St. Petersburg, 23 games in the VHL for SKA-Neva St. Petersburg, 15 games for SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL) and 5 games for SKA-Varyagi im. Morozova (MHL). He had the most success during his time in the MHL. In 20 games in the MHL, he tallied 8 goals and 15 assists. That’s pretty impressive since Russian hockey tends to lower scoring compared to leagues in North America.
8. Trey Fix-Wolansky, RW, Edmonton Oil Kings
HT/WT: 5-7/187 lbs
Drafted: 204th overall in the 2018 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets
Trey Fix-Wolansky is getting better every single season. Last season, he appeared in 65 games and tallied 37 goals and 65 assists. The season prior, he tallied 89 points in 71 games. In his 2016-17 campaign, he tallied 54 points in 70 games. Every season that goes by, he seems to become even more dominant.
Trey Fix-Wolansky is very similar to New York Islanders forward Jordan Eberle. He’s got great puck-handling skills and can fire a wrist shot like nobody’s business. Fix-Wolansky can pick his corners very well. He’s also exceptional at spinning around his opposition. He’s all-around a solid winger. The only issue is speed. He needs to get a tad faster to make the next step. Perhaps, he’ll do some training with Gary Roberts?
9. Sonny Milano, LW, Cleveland Monsters (AHL) & Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
HT/WT: 6-0/194 lbs
Drafted: 16th overall in the 2014 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets
When Sonny Milano was drafted, Craig Button of TSN compared him to Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues. It made a lot of sense as both Milano and Schwartz are dynamic in terms of their puck control and puck-handling. If Milano can finally crack the NHL full-time, he’ll have to chance to truly shine as he is remarkable.
Last season, he played in 27 games for the Cleveland Monsters. He mustered up 11 goals and 13 assists. In addition, he played in 8 playoff games, where he truly shined. He posted 2 goals and 8 assists for the Monsters. Impressive numbers.
He also played in 8 games for the Blue Jackets last season but was relatively quiet. He had 1 goal during his short stint in Columbus.
10. Paul Bittner, LW, Cleveland Monsters (AHL)
HT/WT: 6-3/212 lbs
Drafted: 38th overall in the 2015 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets
Paul Bittner loves capitalizing on one-timers and rebound goals. He’s a goal scoring threat and huge power forward. He’s a great poke-checker and has an elite slap shot.
Unfortunately for Bittner, he hasn’t been consistent in his offensive production since coming to the AHL. In his first AHL season, he recorded 3 assists in 31 games. His 2017-18 campaign was a bit better. He recorded 9 goals and 9 assists in 52 games. Last season, he continued to get better and posted 9 goals and 22 assists in 50 games.
Sadly, his offensive production is still not good enough for a call-up. He needs to improve even more to show the Blue Jackets front office that he’s ready.
stats from eliteprospects.com