I decided to take a speculative look at some players who could be available when the Jackets make their picks on the weekend. They have eight picks going into the draft- a first rounder, two seconds, two fourths, a fifth, sixth and seventh.
I have some familiarity with most of these players, it wasn't just a matter of looking at rankings and finding guys who are ranked close to the pick. Because of this, there is a bit of bias built in. You'll see why.
Here are my picks:
1st Round (4th Overall): D Cam Fowler- Windsor Spitfires OHL
We've discussed Fowler here at The Cannon many times. The lack of defense in Fowler's game at this point isn't a much of a concern, given his high level of offensive talent. I mean, Mike Green was a Norris nominee so obviously being a fourth forward on the ice isn't all bad?
2nd Round (34th Overall): C Ryan Martindale- Ottawa 67's OHL
Martindale is a guy who if he ever fills out his frame, has the potential to be a power center. There have been knocks on his work ethic, but coaching can remedy that very quickly. He's a playmaker, a pass-first center who will pile up the assists.
2nd Round (55th Overall): G Philip Grubauer- Windsor Spitfires OHL
The pattern is a coincidence- three OHLers, two of which play for the Spits. The Jackets have drafted college and college-bound players heavily in the past few seasons, it's time to start looking at Canadian junior again as a source of talent. What better team than the defending Memorial Cup champions? Grubauer was excellent on the way to the Mem Cup, and has international experience with the German team.
4th Round (94th Overall): C Louis-Marc Aubry- Montreal Junior QMJHL
Aubry has good size and playmaking ability. His offensive talent will certainly shine next season when he will be a go-to player for the Junior.
4th Round (102nd Overall): RW Philip Lane- Brampton Battalion OHL
Lane is an interesting player- he has taken longer than expected to get used to the rigors of the OHL, but he has a boatload of offensive talent. Could be a surprise.
5th Round (124th Overall): D John Ramage- Wisconsin Badgers NCAA
Son of former NHL Rob Ramage, John is a steady defender, the polar opposite of Cam Fowler. His bloodlines and size/positioning could lead to a role on an NHL blueline.
6th Round (154th Overall): C Jesse Beamish- St. Michael's CCHL
Beamish plays for the famous St. Mike's Buzzers team in Ontario. He finished third in team scoring and is committed to Dartmouth. He has offensive talent and being college-bound, the Jackets can let him develop slowly.
7th Round (184th Overall): D Konrad Abeltshauser- Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL
I had the pleasure of watching Konrad here in Halifax during his first season in the Q. He is huge, but you wouldn't know it from watching him skate at times. He can produce offense from the back end and plays the body when needed.