Thanks to everyone who voted for this year’s Top 25 Under 25 ranking. We had 102 submissions from Columbus Blue Jackets fans. We’ll be counting down the 25 highest voted players over the next five weeks. Up next: Trey Fix-Wolansky.
#18: Trey Fix-Wolansky
18th out of 38 eligible players
Writer Rank: 17th
Reader Rank: 19th
Highest placement: 5th (1 vote)
Most common placement: 18th (9 votes)
2019 Rank: 10th
Birthdate: May 26, 1999
Birthplace: Edmonton, Alberta
Weight: 183 lbs
Position: Right Wing
Acquired: Drafted by the Blue Jackets in Round 7 (204th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft
All things being equal, my drafting preference would be to take the prospect with more size, since there’s a better he chance he develops enough physically to stick in the NHL. On the other hand, size alone is not enough to disqualify a player who is undersized, especially when you’re talking about wingers.
Enter Fix-Wolansky, who the Blue Jackets snapped up in the final round of the 2018 draft, despite him having just scored 89 points in 71 games in his second season with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. He followed that up in his final season by wearing the “C” and scoring 102 points in 65 games, plus another 14 in 16 games in the playoffs.
TFW’s first full AHL season in 2019-20 featured some inconsistent play, and he finished with 12/14/26 in 43 games. Fine, but a far cry from the scoring potential he demonstrated in the WHL. He appeared poised to take a leap forward with four goals and five assists in his first nine games of 2021. Unfortunately his sophomore effort was cut short by a knee injury suffered on March 20. He had surgery to repair his ACL a week later, with a six month recovery timeline. That would have him ready for game action late in camp.
Even a healthy TFW would have had an uphill battle to make the Columbus roster in a crowded forward room in camp. The injury means he can punch his ticket to Cleveland already. If he’s healthy and can score like he did in 2021, he could earn himself a call-up later this season.
An obvious comparison for Fix-Wolansky is Cam Atkinson. Each was passed over in the draft as an 18 year old, only to be drafted in the late rounds as a 19 year old. They are a similar height and weight, and both are right-handed shot right wingers who can score goals in bunches. Cam made his AHL debut a year later than Fix-Wolansky, and split time in his first two pro seasons between Columbus and Springfield. If Fix-Wolansky can follow that timeline (with a redshirt for 2021), he could be a full-time NHLer in 2022-23. Even if he peaks as a 20 goal scorer each year like early Cam, that’s a win. He seems to have a bit more sandpaper to his game, as well, so he could contribute in a bottom 6 role even without scoring.