Welcome to the August edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers and top-20 prospects.
With the hiring of new head coach Mike Babcock and the acquisition of veteran defenders Ivan Provorov and Damon Severson, it is clear that Jarmo Kekäläinen expects this team to take a big step forward this year. And that does not just mean the established NHLers—-the kids need to have an impact too if the Blue Jackets want to make the playoffs for the first time since 2019-20.
Graduating to the NHL
David Jiricek Jiricek had a quick four-game stint in the NHL last year, but spent most of the year dominating the AHL with the Cleveland Monsters. He was nominated to the AHL All-Star game and put up a solid 6-32-38 statline while playing solid defensive hockey. With the top four pretty much set, Jiricek is a dark horse but a good bet to start the season on the bottom pairing if he keeps up his solid play.
Kirill Marchenko Good things come to those who wait, and the Blue Jackets took their time getting their 2nd round pick from 2018, but it seems like early returns are good. Kirill Marchenko set a Blue Jackets’ record as a rookie for putting up 21 goals in just 59 games, beating out Pierre-Luc Dubois by one goal. With only four assists, it is clear that his game needs added dimensions in the offensive zone, but there are worse things than a big man with a goal-scorer’s touch.
Liam Foudy Foudy played a career-high 62 games last year and scored his first NHL goal 5 years after being drafted in the first round. The feeling is that this is one of Foudy’s last chances to make an impact on the Blue Jackets, and the hope is that the opportunity will light a fire under this speedster and help him recover a scoring touch.
Kent Johnson Kent Johnson has arrived, and while his rookie numbers were not mind-blowing, the early results for the 5th overall pick were encouraging. With a more stable team (with hopefully much fewer injuries), Johnson could have his production skyrocket and cement himself as one of the most exciting young forwards on this team.
Graduating to Professional Hockey
Luca Del Bel Belluz The big centreman, Del Bel Belluz, will be starting this coming season with the Cleveland Monsters after a solid season and postseason run in the OHL split between the Mississauga Steelheads and Sarnia Sting. He is a smart forward with good offensive instincts but needs to improve his skating to make the most of his skills.
Jordan Dumais Buzz has been building about Jordan Dumais ever since the diminutive winger was taken in the third round out of the QMJHL, but this season was a true coming-out party. Dumais finished the season with the Halifax Mooseheads, putting up an incredible 54-86-140 statline and winning the QMJHL regular season MVP. His age makes this next season a little awkward, as due to the CHL rules, Dumais cannot play in the AHL this coming year. He is too good for the QMJHL but likely not ready for a full-time NHL gig, so it will be interesting to see where he lands, but the future looks bright.
James Malatesta From one small QMJHL MVP to another, James Malatesta had a good regular season, but won the MVP for the QMJHL playoffs with the Quebec Remparts, who went on to win the Memorial Cup. Malatesta tied for the lead in goals for the Memorial Cup tournament and proved himself to be a playoff performer. A bulldog that always competes hard, look for Malatesta to continue his momentum and have a big year with the Remparts next year.
Trey Fix-Wolansky It has been a while since the Blue Jackets selected Fix-Wolanski in the 7th round, but he will be pushing for a regular NHL spot after scoring at over a point-per-game in the AHL with the Cleveland Monsters. Fix-Wolansky just signed a two-year deal with Columbus, and while the NHL bottom 6 depth may be too deep for Fix-Wolansky to make the team this year, he will definitely be at the top of the call up chart, and will be knocking at the door consistently.
Daniil Tarasov Now it might be a little harsh to say that Daniil Tarasov has fallen, but it would be disingenuous to say that Tarasov had a great season. His first full year in the NHL saw him play 17 games with mixed results. It is important to consider the state of the team in front of him last year and the poor numbers from starter Elvis Merzlikins, but his performance this year probably cooled some opinions on Tarasov.
On this episode: Pat is joined by Ben to discuss prospects in the Atlantic Division who have a chance to make the roster to start, have cups of coffee, or may be up after the trade deadline. This talk is to help fantasy hockey GMs decide on prospects to add, watch or invest in for […]
On this episode: Pat is joined by Ben to discuss prospects in the Metro Division who have a chance to make the roster to start, have cups of coffee, or may be up after the trade deadline. This talk is to help fantasy hockey GMs decide on prospects to add, watch or invest in for […]
On this episode: Pat is joined by Ben to discuss prospects in the Central Division who have a chance to make the roster to start, have cups of coffee, or may be up after the trade deadline. This talk is to help fantasy hockey GMs decide on prospects to add, watch or invest in for […]