The Blue Jackets clearly planned to bolster their weak defensive pipeline, and when Swedish blueliner Gabriel Carlsson dropped into the late first round, the decision was made to pick up another big bodied prospect.
Trading the 34th and 68th picks to the Maple Leafs (trading back, in the case of the 34th pick, which originally belonged to Toronto), the Blue Jackets used the 29th pick of the 2015 NHL draft to select Gabriel Carlsson, currently playing for Linköping of the SHL.
Here's the breakdown on Carlsson from our Prospect Profile:
He has worked his way up the Linköping organization the last few years and has even represented Sweden on the international stage. He is a long, lanky defender with plenty of frame to add muscle. Central Scouting pegs him as the #2 European skater, but some mocks have him falling to the end of the first round.
And here's the scouting breakdown:
Huge Swedish defender who has a heavy point shot, excellent compete level and a good grasp of reading the ensuing play. Is seldom rattled and battles hard in his end. Makes that transition first pass. His skating needs to continue improving so he can better maintain gap control. His backward mobility and forward acceleration need refinement. - Bill Placzek, Draftsite.com.
If this had been the pick at #8, I think most would be unhappy, as Carlsson is more of a dedicated stay at home guy and there's some questions about his ceiling, but as a second selection, it's not bad at all. Like Werenski, he may be 2-3 years away (perhaps even a few more), but that means there's time for him to develop and to get comfortable with the North American game.
The team still has the #38 pick in the second round, and a nice selection of later round picks and potential trade assets. It'll be interesting to see what comes out of that, particularly if the team is still looking for some veteran D to fill the gaps in their lineup while these prospects mature.