The 2012 NHL Entry Draft. A lot of people are calling this a draft year with good depth because the first 6-7 picks are close to equal. On a scale of 0-100, there are no guys rated in the 90's, but the first 6-7 guys are all solid 83s. With that, what do the Columbus Blue Jackets do this year? What should management do with it's number 2 Overall pick? While the CBJ fans sit around and salivate over the thought of John Davidson doing something with the team, while not being able to name one thing he did with the Blues, who should team draft? To be honest, I haven't paid too much attention to the talent level or skill level of the players in this years draft as far as the CBJ are concerned. Why? Because I don't think the CBJ need the most 'skilled' player available when they draft.
What? I'm crazy? Maybe, but let me tell you what I think. I could be wrong, but I don't see guys in this year's draft that have 8-time all-star written all over him. Sure, Yakupov looks good between the circles against other 17 year olds, but why do I have such a hard time finding film of him working hard in the corners?
What would I do with the Columbus Blue Jackets second overall pick? First, I would find some sucker and trade down to maybe 6th or 7th. I don't think there's a franchise player in this years draft. I'd pick up another top 10 pick with it for next year. Ok, I've done that. Now, what would I do with the Blue Jacket's 6th or 7th pick this year? I would then scour this year's top 10 prospects - goalie, forward, or Dman it don't matter - and pick which ever was considered the most "wise beyond their years" as far as maturity and intellect. Why? This team needs a culture change. It's needs a level of consistent professionalism. It needs a young spark that fans immediately can relate to. The Blue Jackets need a guy who is immediately likeable, humble, and just happy to be playing pro hockey. Dare I say, the Blue Jackets need this generation's Steve Yzerman.
Now, I'm not talking about the 155 points a year Yzerman. I'm talking about the consistent, ever present, white collar leader that the blue collar guy respects. A guy who is young, and while may not prefer the spotlight, understands that he's in it and what that takes to be the face of the franchise (even though this year's pick is really not the face of the franchise). This team doesn't need Steven Stamkos right now, it needs someone solid that it can count on. It needs omeone the fans are proud to see that can actually add to the offense. Someone young that every night that the fans can see holding their own against the NHL's best and flourish doing it. To do that on a team like the Blue Jackets in a city like Buckeyeville, OH - you've got to be "wise beyond your years" in swagger, mental toughness, and most of all humility. Speaking English is a big plus.
Blue Jackets fan, don't despair if you don't get the best boy amongst boys. Make sure you're GM brings your team the right player. And right now, that player needs to have confidence, humility, and the ability to score 30 goals a year in this league - in that order. And really, the Blue Jackets front office hasn't exactly done a bang up job with the draft thus far. So if my plan doesn't work out, it's just the status quo, right?