Among one of the best at hiding interesting nuggets of information in his columns, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch has released his latest Truths & Tidbits piece. In it, he goes through a bunch of smaller stories on the Columbus Blue Jackets as the season creeps closer. It’s worth a closer read, but here are the highlights:
- With the Colorado coaching vacancy still unfilled, the Avalanche seem to be targeting current and former Jackets coaches. Kevin Dineen, Bob Boughner, Jared Bednar have all been linked to the opening and have ties to the Columbus organization. Portzline posits that Av’s AGM Chris McFarland might have something to do with it, as he formerly held the same position with Columbus.
- The bulk of the post is dedicated to looking back at former drafts, and seeing if the Blue Jackets’ decision to draft Pierre-Luc Dubois third overall instead of Jesse Puljujarvi, the expected pick, was justified. The most interesting tidbit out of this is that back in 2005 Columbus actually had Anze Kopitar ranked as their #3 prospect, ahead of their eventual selection Gilbert Brule (who they had ranked in the 6-8 range). The Jackets would go with Brule at #6 instead of Kopitar (who dropped to the Kings at #11) because of the view that the Slovenian was a less conventional pick. “I’m not drafting a kid who pushes rocks up a mountain and jumps over milk crates and calls it training” is a quote from Doug MacLean, then-GM of the Jackets on why he passed on Kopitar. Brule had just 95 points in his NHL career before heading to the KHL, while Kopitar has collected 684 across his 764 career games, while widely being thought of as one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL.
- Portzline also mentions that the Blue Jackets are not expected to extend any PTOs to camp this fall. “We’re pretty full already” says GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Keep up with who has been given tryouts around the league here, with our PTO tracker.