Draft Brings Talent, Depth to Organization
Without a first-round pick for the first time in team history, Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson said he believes his team may have come away with one anyway.
With the seventh pick of the second round and 37th overall, the Blue Jackets selected Oshawa Generals center Boone Jenner, who many experts projected to be a mid-first round pick.
"We didn't expect him to be available at 37," Howson said. “He was certainly a mid-first round pick in our book. But it happens every draft, somebody slides."
The Dorchester, Ontario native, Jenner was rated as the 18th best North American skater before the draft by NHL Central Scouting. This past season, Jenner ranked third on Oshawa with 66 points.
There was a chance to pull of his second trade in three days, but Howson held off in hopes of landing Jenner.
"We were actually going to trade the pick and move back to acquire a later second and a third," Howson said. "In our analysis last night, the only player we weren't going to move back on was Boone Jenner. He was there, so we made the pick.”
Surrounded by family and friends, Jenner said he was able to get past the disappointment of falling out of the first round when Columbus finally called his name.
"When my name was called my heart was racing, it was a dream come true," Jenner said. "I've been waiting for this day for a long time, I'm really happy to be where I am. I'm looking forward to a career with Columbus."
After a four-hour wait through the first round, Jenner was forced to wait only a few minutes before being selected on day two. The wait was much longer for right winger Seth Ambroz.
Ranked as the 31st best North American skater, many projected Ambroz to be selected in the top three rounds.
Despite the projections, Ambroz fell all the way to Columbus at 128 overall in the fifth round.
"I had heard late first round to second round but unfortunately that didn't happen. But I'm happy where I am and I want to prove people wrong," Ambroz said. Last season with Omaha of the United States Hockey League, Ambroz led his team in goals and points and was second in assists. Howson had no explanations as to why he fell as far as he did.
"We were surprised he was there. I can't tell you what happened," Howson said. "He's 6-2, he scored 24 goals last year and he's going to the University of Minnesota. Those are all positive things for us. It's up to him now to prove everybody wrong."
After hours of waiting to hear his named called, Ambroz left Columbus fans with a brief message.
"Hopefully, you guys got a steal," he said.
In between the selections of Jenner and Ambroz, Columbus took center T.J. Tynan and defenseman Mike Reilly in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.
Tynan was one of three centers selected by Columbus during the second day of the draft.
"The thinking is, center is the most difficult forward position to play and it has the most responsibility. You can always move a center to the wing but very rarely can you move a winger to center," Howson said. "We're comfortable with where we are now."
As a freshman at Notre Dame, Tynan led the Irish in points and finished second in goals and assists in leading his team to a Frozen Four appearance. He was also named the CCHA Rookie of the Year.
"It definitely helped playing against bigger stronger guys. The older guys helped me tremendously," Tynan said.
Tynan said he will return to Notre Dame where he hopes to continue to improve his game.
"I'm trying to be a two-way center and create havoc with my speed. I know Columbus is very young and they're making moves to make the playoffs," Tynan said.
By selecting Reilly with the 98th pick, Columbus was able to address another one of its needs – defense.
A native of Chicago, Reilly had a connection to Columbus even before the Blue Jackets made him their fourth-round pick. His sister, Shannon, recently completed a four-year hockey career at Ohio State.
"I went to a (Blue Jackets) game or two last year. They are a young team but have a lot of good prospects and I would love to help out," Reilly said.