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2021 CBJ Top 25 Under 25: Andrew Peeke now has a window of opportunity

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Can he find a full-time spot on the new look blue line?

NHL: JAN 10 Blue Jackets Scrimmage Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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: Andrew Peeke

#14: Andrew Peeke

Voting

14th out of 38 eligible players
Writer Rank: 13
Reader Rank: 13
Highest placement: 3 (2 votes)
Most common placement: 16 (11 votes)
2019 Rank: 17th

Biography

Birthdate: March 17, 1998
Birthplace: Parkland, FL
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 197 lbs
Position: D
Shoots: Right
Acquired: Drafted by the Blue Jackets in Round 2 (34th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft

2020-21 Season

This Florida native signed a 3-year, entry-level contract with the Blue Jackets on April 1, 2019 after completing his junior year with Notre Dame. This past season, he split time with the Cleveland Monsters but played 11 games with the Blue Jackets and logged 0 goals (on 5 shots), 3 assists, and 3 points. However, he completed 35 hits and averaged 17:09 per game, which is an increase from the prior season. Peeke appeared at times to struggle getting the puck out of his own end and a bit indecisive, which likely reflects him adjusting to the NHL game pace.

2021-22 Forecast

Phrases like “continued growth”, “still a young player”, and “opportunity to step up” encircle Peeke. Essentially he’s on the right track, but still needs time to develop. With the Seth Jones’ trade, the Blue Jackets needed to reload their back-end. The Blue Jackets must have seen enough of what they like in Peeke’s performance because on August 9, 2021, CBJ re-signed Peeke to a 2-year, $1.575 million contract. This completed their off-season signings with 8 defensemen. Peeke is only 1 of 2 right-handed defensemen in the line-up, which means he should see an increase in playing time. He’s also big, which could help offset Zach Werenski’s slow pace of play. With the latter’s scoring ability, we need someone who can hold down the defense on the PK, which just may be where Peeke can prove his worth.

Scouting Reports

Big, mobile defensemen with great vision and hockey sense. Possesses a hard, accurate shot but needs to use it more. Smooth skater but has room for improvement in his acceleration with the puck. Reads play well in his own end and has a well-rounded understanding of the defensive game. Starting to play a gritty game, but that will take time to develop. Physical game is definitely ripening. -EliteProspects

Andrew is a smart, mobile defensemen who has the ability to join the rush and make plays in all 3 zones. -General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen on SportsNet.ca

Peeke does offer the Blue Jackets something they currently lack. He has an intriguing mix of size, skating and a right-handed shot that’s now a scarcity within the system. -Brian Hedger, The Columbus Dispatch