The Blue Jackets had a list of priorities heading into this weekend's NHL Draft, and GM Scott Howson is pleased he was able to cross a significant number of them off his to-do list.
With just two goaltenders under contract in the organization -- and very few in the pipeline to begin with -- the Blue Jackets sought to bolster their depth in goal, and wanted to do so at their draft table. After two highly-rated netminders were selected in last night's first round, the next best available goaltender was young Oscar Dansk from Shattuck St. Mary's, and Howson zeroed in on him at 31st overall.
After the conclusion of the first round, Howson admitted he had legitimate trade offers from two NHL clubs interested in the 31st pick, but said "there's a player there we really like." When NHL senior VP Jim Gregory let the Blue Jackets know they were on the clock, there was not much deliberation -- Dansk was their guy, and the second piece acquired this weekend geared to rebuilding the goaltending position in the organization.
"I feel like I have a good opportunity (in Columbus)," Dansk said. "I'm going to work hard now, but it's probably going to take some time, though. It could happen fast, too, you never. I'm just going to work hard every day and see how it goes.
"I'm really happy about it. My dream is always to come in (to the NHL) at 20, but I know it's a process and I'm willing to go through the process, however long it's going to take me."
The same feelings were shared by Joonas Korpisalo, a Finnish goaltender from the Jokerit organization. He was selected in the third round (62nd overall), making it back-to-back goalies for the Blue Jackets. Korpisalo is regarded as an athletic goalie who has experience in international tournaments, and has been a successful player for his junior club in Jokerit.
Korpisalo posted a 2.04 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and four shutouts this year and, like Dansk, could be on his way to Canadian major junior hockey this fall. Both players are slated to be included in the CHL Import Draft in the coming weeks, where their next destinations will likely be revealed.
"When they announced my name, I was so excited," Korpisalo said. "To be drafted to a team and a city like Columbus, it's unbelievable. I feel great because I know I can be the No. 1 goalie there, so yeah, I feel pretty good. That's what I have to do, and being the No. 1 goalie and winning the Stanley Cup...that's the dream."
Howson said he would welcome the decision of both goaltenders to come to North America and play junior hockey. And though the Blue Jackets have added to their goaltending depth this weekend, he said there's more work to be done on that front.
"We're well-stocked," Howson said. "They're both obviously young kids, but I know Oscar wants to come and play junior hockey. I haven't talked to Joonas yet about what he wants to do. If he wanted to do that, they can both come over and play.
"We need to add more goalies, two more pros. We certainly need another goalie that can play in the NHL, that would give us competition at that spot for this year."
Blue Jackets goaltender Oscar Dansk was a busy guy after he was picked by Columbus in the second round (31st overall) -- and he went right from the draft floor over to the set of the NHL Network. He sits down with Kathryn Tappen and EJ Hradek to discuss the draft experience, his potential fit with the Blue Jackets, and more.
Joonas Korpisalo was another of the top-ranked European goaltenders in this year's NHL Draft class, and with the Blue Jackets thin at that position, Scott Howson and staff wanted to make sure they utilized every avenue to strengthen the club between the pipes.
Korpisalo spoke with JacketsTV shortly after being picked by the Blue Jackets, and discussed his game, how he sees himself fitting into the Columbus organization, and much more.
Blue Jackets goaltender Oscar Dansk, selected with the 31st overall pick in the NHL Draft, met with the media after his name was called at the CONSOL Energy Center. He knows he's coming into an organization that was looking to upgrade its goaltending, and said he is going to work hard to earn his way up the Blue Jackets' depth chart.
Watch Dansk's interview on JacketsTV in the video player above.
CBJ SELECTS CURCURUTO: If this were an "all-name" draft, the Blue Jackets might be contending for top honors! With the 182nd overall pick (seventh round), Columbus selected defenseman Gianluca Curcuruto from the OHL's Sault-Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Curcuruto is a native of Toronto and just completed his second full season in the OHL. He is listed at 6-foot and 195 lbs., and is a left-handed shot on the blue line. In 2011-12, he registered three goals and 16 points in 63 games, after posting one goal and 25 points in 56 games the previous year.
We will have more on all of today's Blue Jackets draft picks following Scott Howson's media session, which is scheduled to take place shortly after the conclusion of the seventh and final round of the draft.
UPDATE: The Blue Jackets have selected RW Daniel Zaar from Sweden with the No. 152 overall pick in the NHL Draft. Zaar is regarded as a skilled offensive player whose game has continued to develop as he's grown older. He checks in at 5-foot-11 and 170 lbs., and has the ability to both score pretty goals with his accurate shot and drive hard to the net.
Here's a brief scouting report on Zaar, courtesy of Eliteprospects.com:
"A pretty all-round player with an excellent shot - accurate and hard. Also a fine one-time release. Has overall pretty good offensive skills and usually finds the net. Should continue improving his speed and strength."
Zaar posted 14 goals and 38 points in 44 games this past season with Rogle U20 in Sweden, and added five goals and eight points during the club's seven playoff contests. He appears to be a rising star in the Swedish hockey ranks, and his offensive numbers have improved as he climbed the competitive ladder.
At the World U18 tournament this past year, Zaar tallied one goal in Sweden's three games.
The Blue Jackets have made their first three selections on the second day of the NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. So far, GM Scott Howson and his staff have added two highly-rated goaltenders and an up-and-coming forward from the Ontario Hockey League.
Here is a recap of today's additions to the CBJ organization, courtesy of the Blue Jackets' public relations department:
DANSK: Columbus used its second round pick to select goaltender Oscar Dansk with the 31st overall selection. The 6-foot-2, 186-pound native of Stockholm, Sweden posted a 2.82 goals-against average, .910 save percentage and two shutouts in 28 games with Brynas Jr. of the Swedish Junior League in 2011-12. He recorded a 2.70 GAA, .911 SV% and one shutout in 21 games with Brynas Jr. in 2010-11.
KORPISALO: In the third round, the Blue Jackets selected Jokerit Jr. (Finland Jr.) goaltender Joonas Korpisalo with the 62nd overall pick. A native of Pori, Finland, he registered a 2.04 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and four shutouts in 38 games with Jokerit Jr. of the Finnish Junior League. He also represented Finland at the 2012 World Under-18 Junior Championships and went 3-3 with a 3.02 GAA, .902 SV% and one shutout in seven games, helping the club reach the bronze medal game.
ANDERSON: Columbus used its fourth round pick to select London Knights (Ontario Hockey League) right wing Josh Anderson with the 95th overall pick. A 6-foot-1, 183-pound native of Burlington, Ontario, he registered 12-10-22, 34 penalty minutes and a +17 plus/minus rating in 64 games. He added 2-3-5, four penalty minutes and was +4 in 19 playoff games, helping the Knights win the OHL championship.
Stay tuned, there's plenty more to come from Pittsburgh!
THIS JUST IN: The Blue Jackets have selected LW Josh Anderson of the London Knights (OHL) with the 95th overall pick. The pick originally belonged to the Vancouver Canucks, but was acquired in the Samuel Pahlsson trade at the trading deadline in February.
In 2011-12, Anderson debuted into major junior hockey and played his first season with the Knights. He put up 12 goals and 22 points during his rookie campaign, and is considered to be a two-way forward that can check effectively and chip in on the offensive end.
Barring trade, Columbus does not have another selection in the fourth round. We'll keep you updated on any news that comes down the pike as the draft continues here at CONSOL Energy Center!