Coming in at #17: ANDREW PEEKE
17th out of 34 eligible players
Writers’ Vote: 18th
Readers’ Vote: 14th
Highest Placement: 5th (1 vote)
Most Common Placement: 9th (9 votes)
Birthdate: March 17, 1998
Birthplace: Parkland, Fla.
Weight: 205 lbs.
Acquired: Drafted by Columbus in Round 2 of the 2016 NHL Draft (#34 overall)
Andrew Peeke bid adieu to the college life in April, signing a three-year entry contract with Columbus after finishing his junior year with Notre Dame. The 21-year-old defenseman captained the Fighting Irish to a Big Ten Tournament title and a berth in the NCAA tournament, tallying three goals and a career-high 21 assists in 40 games.
Peeke earned the team’s Defensive Player of the Year award and a spot on the Big Ten All-Tournament team for his efforts, highlights of a college career that saw him notch 12 goals and 40 assists in 119 games with Notre Dame. A tall, mobile defenseman, Peeke said he focused on his physicality this past season, and then-development coach Chris Clark called him “one of the strongest guys in college hockey.” Clark also marveled as his consistency, saying, “It’s funny because a lot of time when I go to the game I know exactly what he’s going to do. We can almost write our reports beforehand.”
The young d-man signed in time to join the Blue Jackets on their playoff run. Peeke skated in warmups as the seventh defenseman in the Tampa Bay series but did not see game time.
The club seems high on Peeke, and rightly so for a second-round pick. You can imagine this is how the Blue Jackets would like to bring a prospect like him along. He used his time in college to mature and develop, taking on a key leadership role for Notre Dame. The he signs, getting an up-close view of NHL playoff hockey. He’s ready for another development camp in the summer and can slide right into playing in the pros.
The Blue Jackets’ defense is currently set, but he’ll add some key defensive depth to organization. New Cleveland Monsters coach Mike Eaves saw plenty of Peeke from his time at Wisconsin and can help further develop the big man as he adjusts to the pros. Who knows, he may see Columbus sooner than we think.