Columbus Blue Jackets 2015 NHL Draft Recap

iss_recapcolumbusWith the 2015 NHL Draft completed, International Scouting Services recaps and identifies key up and coming prospects. 

July 15, 2015 [Waterloo, ON] ISS Hockey recaps the top prospects drafted by Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2015 NHL Draft, held on June 26-27, 2015 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida:

Top Prospects Drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2015 NHL Draft

ISSOv.NamePosBirth DateHeightWeightTeamLeague
118WERENSKI, ZachRD7/19/19976.02206MichiganBigTen
3029CARLSSON, GabrielLD1/2/19976.04183LinkopingSweJE
1738BITTNER, PaulLW11/4/19966.04204PortlandWHL
9058STENLUND, KevinC9/20/19966.03205HV71SweJE
6569KOLESAR, KeeganRW4/8/19976.01.25217SeattleWHL
NA129RUOPP, SamLD6/3/19966.03.25174Prince GeorgeWHL
89141VAINIO, VeetiRD6/16/19976.01.75169EspooFinE
49159GAVRIKOV, VladislavLD11/21/19956.02.5205Yaroslavl LokoRusJr
NA189NUTIVAARA, MarkusLD6/6/19946174Karpat OuluFinE
June 26-27, BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida


ISS Scouts have been tracking prospects eligible for the NHL Draft for years (typically from the age of fourteen), so they have unique knowledge of strengths, weaknesses and probabilities for success at the NHL level. ISS Hockey scouts identify prospects that have been chosen by the Columbus Blue Jackets in past drafts and provide a brief summary of how these drafted players will influence the team:

Zach Werenski (ISS Ranked #11 in 2015, Overall drafted #8 in 2015 NHL Draft) – The Blue Jackets add one of the premier two-way defenders eligible in the 2015 draft class and should complement 2012 2nd overall Ryan Murray extremely well in the future. Accelerating into the NCAA a year earlier than his peers, Zach proved dominance on both sides of the puck with noticeable intrigue on the puck. No need to rush him in early with a young group developing on the Columbus backend.

Sonny Milano (ISS Ranked #16 in 2014, Overall drafted #16 in 2014 NHL Draft) – The first rounder from 2014 brings an electric, unrelenting offensive tempo with an elite skill-set. This is a much-needed area of improvement up front for Columbus and he will benefit with another year of development at the Major Junior level after a solid rookie campaign in the OHL. With the up and coming skill of Milano, Rychel, Bjorkstrand and the youth on the roster in Johansen and Wennberg, the Blue Jackets are looking very promising.

Ryan Murray (ISS Ranked #3 in 2012, Overall drafted #2 in 2012 NHL Draft) – One of the building blocks on the Blue Jackets roster, Murray will be looked at to be that anchor on the backend for the foreseeable future. His veteran-like composure, reliability and character on the blueline makes him an invaluable asset. He will have to come back strong after an injury riddled 2014-2015 season, he has all the tools to be a premier shutdown defender in this league.


Oliver Bjorkstrand (ISS Ranked #67 in 2013, Overall drafted #89 in 2013 NHL Draft) – There is no one doubting Bjorkstrand’s skill-set and offensive abilities but it baffled many when he slipped to the end of the 3rd round in 2013. After 3 years of dominance average 1.50 points per game throughout, he is ready for the challenge at the next level being the AHL. The patient, long-term approach that the Blue Jackets brass is taking with Oliver will pay dividends in the future.

“The culture shift in Columbus continues to change for the better ever since Jarmo Kekalainen took the reigns as the GM and it shows with their impressive drafts over the past few years”, says ISS Hockey Director of Scouting Dennis MacInnis. “Since taking the GM position with the Blue Jackets Kekalainen has brought in Wennberg, Rychel, Dano, Milano and now Werenski. Not many teams have had so many promising prospects in such a short period of time. The patience they have with development will have them as a league force in the next 5-10 years as they continue to stockpile talented hockey players up front and on the backend.”

San Jose Sharks – 07/17/2015
Colorado Avalanche – 07/20/2015
Florida Panthers – 07/22/2015

Edmonton Oilers – 06/29/2015
Buffalo Sabres – 07/01/2015
Arizona Coyotes – 07/03/2015
Toronto Maple Leafs – 07/06/2015
Carolina Hurricanes – 07/08/2015
New Jersey Devils – 07/10/2015
Philadelphia Flyers – 07/13/2015