After finishing last in the Central Division the past three seasons, the Columbus Blue Jackets have plenty of top draft picks to begin rebuilding the hockey team.
The Blue Jackets are stacked with defensive talent, including Ryan Murray and the newly-acquired Tim Erixon, and have a knack for drafting undersized wingers who play with an edge like Cam Atkinson and Matt Calvert. Scott Howson has become very good at identifying which free agent prospects have the best upside, and under barely any publicity, he signed undrafted winger Jonathan Audy-Marchessault this summer. The Jackets also have been addressing their problem between the pipes and drafted two goalies with NHL potential in Oscar Dansk and Joonas Korpisalo. The Blue Jackets have entered rebuilding mode but there are plenty of promising prospects capable of improving the team's fortunes.
1. (NR) Ryan Murray, D, 8.0B
Drafted 1st round, 2nd overall, 2012
There was a reason that the New York Islanders were rumored to have offered the Blue Jackets every one of their picks in last summerís draft, and that lone reason was Ryan Murray. The Saskatchewan product had a standout year as captain of the WHL's Everett Silvertips with nine goals and 31 points in 46 games during the regular season and then three goals and two assists in four playoff games. He also appeared in 12 games of international play, six with Canadaís U-20 team and six with Canadaís World Championship team. That experience made him the second youngest player to ever play for Team Canada in the IIHF World Championship and he joined Jonathan Toews and Jordan Eberle as the only players to play for the Canadian national team before playing in the NHL.