The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed another important prospect, inking Kevin Stenlund to a three-year entry-level contract. No financials were released. Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch expects Stenlund to stay in Sweden for at least another year before coming to North America.
Drafted in the second round by the Blue Jackets last in 2015, Stenlund was one of the youngest players on the SHL champion HV71 club this season but still managed to register 13 goals (the club leader had 17). He responded with another 10 points in 16 playoff games, and looks like a steal for Columbus. Like many European prospects, Stenlund struggled to produce offensively for HV71 in his draft year, scoring just two points in 43 games. The Blue Jackets felt as though he deserved the commitment of the 58th-overall pick, and it is already paying off.
A 6’3″ center, Stenlund is just starting to develop into the power two-way player they had hoped for. Ranked #21 among international skaters in his draft year, the biggest knock on him was his skating ability. Given his natural size, strength and playmaking ability, the Blue Jackets could well have another middle-six center on their hands in a few years.