MONTREAL, Canada (WCMH) — The Columbus Blue Jackets selected defenseman David Jiricek 6th overall in the 2022 National Hockey League Entry Draft on Thursday.
Columbus also selected a defenseman with the 12th overall pick, taking 17-year-old Denton Mateychuk.
The Blue Jackets filled a position need on defense with the 18-year-old Jiricek and Mateychuk after allowing a franchise-record 297 goals last season. The 297 goals allowed was also fifth-most in the NHL.
A step back on defense was all but expected after the Blue Jackets traded all-star defenseman Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks in the offseason last year in return for this year’s No. 6 pick, Adam Boqvist who was signed to a three-year contract extension on Wednesday and second round pick last year.
Jiricek recorded five goals and six assists for 11 points with 49 penalty minutes and an “even” plus/minus rating in 29 games with HC Plzen of the Czechia Hockey League in 2021-22. He finished second on the team in penalty minutes and ranked second among club blueliners in goals and third in points.
The Klatovy, Czechia native has tallied 8-12-20 with 85 penalty minutes and a cumulative +14 rating in 67 career outings with HC Plzen (Czechia) from 2019-22. He posted 3-6-9 and 34 penalty minutes in 34 games in 2020-21 and finished fifth on the team in plus/minus rating (+13).
The 6-3, 189-pound defenseman has represented Czechia at several international tournaments. He helped his country capture bronze at the 2022 IIHF World Championships with 1-1-2 in five games. He was named a top three player on his team in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships with 1-1-2 and two penalty minutes in five games.