COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The 2022 National Hockey League Entry Draft begins Thursday, July 7 and the Columbus Blue Jackets own two first round picks.
Last year, CBJ selected Kent Johnson 5th overall and Cole Sillinger 12th overall as part of a rebuild that saw Columbus part ways with head coach John Tortorella, captain Nick Foligno and alternate captains Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones.
Below is a breakdown of the Blue Jackets first round picks over the last 10 years and where they are now.
2012: Ryan Murray
Murray was selected No. 2 overall in 2012 and spent 7 seasons in Columbus where he amassed 110 points. Murray played the 2020-21 season in New Jersey before joining the Colorado Avalanche last season on his way to a Stanley Cup championship.
2013: Alexander Wennberg
Alexander Wennberg was drafted 14th overall and played six seasons in Columbus prior to playing the 2020-21 season with the Florida Panthers who offered him to the expansion Seattle Kracken. Wenneberg played 80 games last season for Seattle contributing 37 assists and a plus/minus of -26.
2014: Sonny Milano
Sonny Milano was drafted 16th overall and spent five seasons in Columbus where he played sparingly. Milano played in eight games or less during three of his five seasons in Columbus. He became more of a fixture on the team in the 2019-20 season playing 46 games. He was traded to Anaheim at the end of the season and is still with the Ducks.
2015: Zach Werenski
Werenski has proven to be one of the best draft picks in the club’s history. Drafted 8th overall in 2015, Werenski has the record for most goals in a single season (20) by a CBJ defenseman. He also holds the No. 2 spot on that list, contributing 16 goals in the 2017-18 season.
Werenski is a two-time NHL all-star who has played in more than 400 games through six seasons. He contributed right away as a rookie totaling 11 goals and an impressive 36 assists. The 47 points he contributed during that 2016-17 season was his most in Columbus until this past season when he amassed 48 points (11 goals, 37 assists).
2016: Pierre-Luc Dubois
The No. 3 overall pick in 2016, Pierre-Luc Dubois’ career was short-lived in Columbus after he requested a trade just five games into his fourth season with the team. Dubois did not see eye-to-eye with Tortorella, resulting in his trade to Winnipeg in exchange for the No. 2 pick in 2016, Patrik Laine, as well as Columbus native Jack Roslovic.
2018: Liam Foudy
Liam Foudy was selected 18th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft and recently signed a two-year contract extension through the 2023-24 season.
The 22-year-old center has only played 27 games with the Blue Jackets and was playing with CBJ’s AHL affiliate, Cleveland, last season before suffering an injury that forced him to miss the final three months of the season. Whether Foudy has a place on the team remains to be seen since he plays the same position as the 19-year-olds Johnson and Sillinger as well as Dublin native Sean Kuraly who had an impressive first season in Columbus.
2020: Yegor Chinakhov
Selecting Yegor Chinakhov 21st overall in 2020 came as a surprise to many draft experts who projected the Russian as a late-round pick after going undrafted in 2019.
CBJ General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen saw potential in the then 19-year-old forward who showed flashes of offensive skill last season when he played in 62 games, scoring seven goals with seven assists. It remains to be seen whether the first-round gamble will pay off, but on this young team, there will be plenty of opportunities to show if he has what it takes to get regular minutes.
2021: Kent Johnson and Cole Sillinger
Kent Johnson didn’t join Columbus until April after playing the 2021-22 college season with the Michigan Wolverines. Nine games is far from enough sample size to make any judgements but the ceiling is high.
Meanwhile, Sillinger played the entire season with the Blue Jackets, surpassing expectations while showing a maturity and talent not common in many 18-year-old players (Sillinger turned 19 in May). Last season, the Columbus native contributed 15 assists and 16 goals, which is top 10 in NHL history for a player 18 years old or younger.