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2019 Columbus Blue Jackets top 25 under 25: #15 Kevin Stenlund looking to make greater NHL impact

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Kevin Stenlund got his first taste of the NHL last season and is looking to parlay that into a bigger role this season.

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Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

#15: Kevin Stenlund

Voting

15th out of 34 eligible players
Writers’ Vote: 17th
Readers’ Vote: 13th
Highest Placement: 8th (2 votes)
Most Common Placement: 10th and 15th (7 votes each)

Biography

Birthdate: September 20, 1996
Birthplace: Stockholm, Swe
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 209 lbs
Position: Center
Acquired: Drafted by Columbus in Round 2 of the 2015 draft (#58 overall)

2018-19 Season

After a brief stint with the Monsters in 2017-18, Kevin Stenlund spent the year in Ohio playing 59 games for Cleveland, scoring 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists). In five playoff games for the Monsters, Stenlund scored one goal. He also made his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets Jan. 12 at the Capitals. In four games for the Jackets, he did not register a point and had three shots.

2019-20 Forecast

Stenlund will look to take his game to the next level starting in training camp next month. Though there will be competition, there is the potential to come away with a roster spot after the off-season moves and departures. In Stenlund’s case, he can help his own cause with a strong camp. While it’s likely he begins the season in Cleveland, Stenlund will certainly be among the first under consideration to join the big club as the season plays out and the need for recalls arise.

Per Elaine:

“After a ‘meh’ 2017-18 season, Kevin Stenlund came into the 2018-19 season guns blazing notching four points in his first five games.

He often played on the same line as Ryan MacInnis. They played well together especially along the boards. This was great for MacInnis as it elevated his game. Unfortunately for Stenlund, playing with MacInnis stunts his growth. Stenlund doesn’t regress but he definitely doesn’t progress while with MacInnis. I’m unsure of why it’s this way for Stenlund.

One of the best parts of Stenlund’s play is his ability to make up for any mistake he’s made. For example, On February 16th, he played on the third line and had multiple turnovers. For some reason, Coach Madden thought it was a good idea to bump Stenlund up to the first line the next game. Madden was right. Stenlund performed at an incredibly high level for the next three games on the first line centered by Mark Letestu.

While on the first line, we got a glimpse of the skill Stenlund truly possesses. He became a phenomenal play maker who was able to fly under the radar to make things happen.

Towards the end of the season, Stenlund became both a power play and faceoff wizard.

Stenlund’s only downside was his lack of aggression and strength. I’m not saying he was playing like a docile, weak puppy. I’m saying he was always on the cusp of being able to destroy the opposition. Stenlund was hurt multiple times over the past few seasons. So, I wonder how much of his apprehension had to do with past injuries.

This summer Stenlund has taken to Instagram to let us all know how his offseason training is going. Let me tell you, Stenlund is already in beastmode and it’s only August. Looks like he will be coming into training camp with a much stronger foot forward than last season. Stenlund is clearly trying to make his case for a spot with the big club.”

Corey Pronman of The Athletic released his farm system rankings, with the Blue Jackets coming in at number 25. Kevin Stenlund came in at No. 12 for him, and here’s what he had to say about the prospect:

Tier: Legit/chance bubble

“Stenlund looks like a player. There are times you see a 6-foot-3 forward with great hands, a fine skating stride, the ability to make plays and score goals, and think he should be on the fast track to the NHL. While he did play a few games this season, he has some work to do before he’s a full-time player. Stenlund has all the tools, but he lacks consistency. He doesn’t get to the middle of the ice that often and he needs to get better defensively. I know some scouts who are huge believers due to his massive upside.”