November 31-in-31: Columbus Blue Jackets

Dave Hall

2020-11-09

The 31-in-31 Summer Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Every day in November we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s draft and insights into their off-season movements thus far. Following this up, the December 31-in-31 Series will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check back often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs until the season begins!

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The off-season agenda for General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen, was clear – find additional scoring options, add a top-six center and with no picks in the second or third rounds, fill gaps within their 2020 Entry-Draft. Oh, and most importantly, lock up pending RFA and budding star Pierre-Luc Dubois long-term.

Things were relatively quiet on the trade front leading up to the draft. However, just hours before the first selection was announced, the club sent Josh Anderson to the Montreal Canadians in exchange for Max Domi and a third-round (78) pick. The acquisition checked off nearly every box on the list of immediate needs, including setting themselves up with an additional draft pick. The two parties (Domi/Columbus) promptly settled on terms, finalizing a two-year, 10.6 Million dollar deal (5.3 AAV).

As for the draft, the Jackets were set to take the (zoom) podium with the 21st overall selection. Given the strong talent that was assumed to fall within that range, management had no intention of moving up – CBJ fans soon found out why. Despite a list of touted names still available, Kekalainen sent a shockwave through the hockey world, selecting Yegor Chinakhov – an overaged winger, slated to fall somewhere in the final rounds of the draft. Despite contrary opinion, management backed up their pick with conviction. The Jackets had previously pegged him within their personal top-10, and remain quite bullish on their most recent investment. 

Day two was slow-moving, yet, full of slides and reaches. With no second-round pick, and no trade options available, the club had ample time to scour through potential suitors. They would select a string of European skaters, three of which were defenders, marking this the first draft in franchise history in which they passed on North American born talent. 

Content with their crop for the year, they wrapped up the event with a deal, sending their final pick (seventh-round) to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a future (2021 or 2022) conditional seventh. 

Draft Recap

Round One, 21st Overall – Yegor Chinakhov, RW

As mentioned, the Jackets seem quite high on their pick, despite the masses’ general opinion. Given the organization’s thirst to produce goals, both immediately and within their pipeline, he certainly fills a much-needed void. While he may not be the safe, perhaps more obvious choice at 21, he is a player that they view as a potential top-six threat with high-end scoring ability at the forefront of his wheelhouse. Rest assured, their scouts have invested copious hours reviewing tape and feel very confident in his future development.

Chinakhov, 19, is an elite scorer. He may not hold elite level upside as a whole, but he can certainly create offense. He shows strong vision, with a keen sense for predicting the play and finding offensive opportunities. His shot is certainly the factor that sets him apart from the rest of the crop – the release is lethal, and his pinpoint accuracy matches the threat in velocity. He thrives on the half-wall and carries the utmost potential to contribute t