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In the System: April prospect update

Checking in on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospects.

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COLLEGE HOCKEY: FEB 05 Wisconsin at Ohio State Photo by Graham Stokes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hockey season is wrapping up around the world. Playoffs have started in Europe and the NCAA and the rest of North America is not far behind. We took our last look at the Blue Jackets’ prospects back in January and checked in to see how their seasons were going. Let’s take one last in-season look for 2021-2022.

Back in the beginning of February, Scott Wheeler ranked the Blue Jackets’ prospect pool sixth in the league. Check out his takes on some of the players below over at The Athletic.

Kent Johnson (C) - University of Michigan - 31GP 8-29-37

Since last update: 8GP 2-5-7

Canada may have been bounced from the Olympics early, but Johnson gained invaluable experience in the tournament. After initially being named an alternate, he ended up playing five games and scoring a goal and adding four assists.

Michigan is currently in the Frozen Four. They play Denver on Thursday, April 7 and would advance to the National Championship on the following Saturday should they be able to win. Whenever Michigan’s season comes to an end, expect Kent to quickly sign his ELC. We should see the promising youngster in a Blue Jackets’ jersey sometime next week.

Kirill Marchenko (RW/LW) - SKA St. Petersburg (KHL) - 39GP 12-8-20

Since last update: N/A

Marchenko is still stuck in the VHL, Russia’s equivalent to the AHL. There are a lot of politics at play here, so don’t worry. Given the situation in that part of the world, don’t expect to see Kirill in a Columbus sweater before season’s end. We’ll likely get our first glimpse of Marchenko this fall.

Dmitri Voronkov (LW/C) - Ak Bars Kazan (KHL) - 44GP 7-6-13

Since last update: N/A

There are some question marks around how Voronkov’s offensive ability will translate to the NHL, but the Blue Jackets are certainly hoping he’ll be a perennial bottom six forward when he arrives. His production is down from last season, but he can now show off his Olympic silver medal. He’s listed at 6’4”, is physical, and plays sound defense. He’s signed in the KHL for one more season.

Corson Ceulemans (D) - University of Wisconsin - 34GP 7-15-22

Since last update: 11GP 2-3-5

Corson has been a revelation in the NCAA this season. He’ll likely be back at Wisconsin for his sophomore year, but be patient, this kid has a lot of room to grow. This was a great pick by the Blue Jackets and the right-handed defenseman has a bright future ahead of him.

James Malatesta (LW) - Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) - 56GP 18-22-40

Since last update: 26GP 8-9-17

Not much to report here other than the fact that Malatesta is continuing his scoring pace in the Q. He’ll likely play one more season of Junior hockey. I’m interested to see how he’ll do against older competition when he makes the inevitable jump to a different league. He’s very fast and plays at a breakneck pace. He also plays a heavier game than his size would indicate. His ceiling may only be a fourth line checking winger at the NHL level, but he could end up being a good one.

Samuel Knazko (D) - Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) - 24GP 5-12-17

Since last update: 13GP 4-8-12

Knazko has played very well in the WHL since settling in. He’s playing at nearly a point per game pace since our last update. The Slovakian has a lot of experience for a 19 year old. He’s captained the Slovakian U20 team and now has an Olympic bronze medal in his trophy case. The Blue Jackets’ blue line for next season may already be mostly settled, but don’t be surprised if Knazko gets a long look at training camp in the fall. There’s a good chance he’s a Cleveland Monster next season and we may even see him in a Blue Jackets’ sweater at some point in the next 12 months.

Stanislav Svozil (D) - Regina Pats (WHL) - 56GP 10-30-40

Since last update: 28GP 9-13-22

Like Knazko, Svozil is also having a good showing in his first North American season. Since he wasn’t drafted out of the CHL, he could find himself in Cleveland next season if the club thinks he’s ready. The Blue Jackets are hoping they can find a puck moving defenseman that can evolve into a good defender at the NHL level. They have two candidates in Knazko and Svozil.

Guillaume Richard (D) - Providence College - 36GP 3-11-14

Since last update: 10GP 1-0-1

Richard wouldn’t be considered an offensive prospect, so don’t pay too much attention to the numbers. He ended the season with a +18 at Providence College. Overall, he had an impressive freshman season. He’ll likely stick around the NCAA for another two or three years before moving on to bigger and better things. At 6’2” and showing good defensive instincts, Richard is someone the front office is going to keep a close eye on.

Mikael Pyyhtia (LW) - TPS (Liiga) - 62GP 23-17-40

Since last update: 28GP 17-9-26

The Finn has been on a tear since our last update. With 17 goals in his last 28 games, the 20 year old has become one of the premier scorers in Finland’s top league. Back in January, he signed a one-year extension with TPS, so don’t expect him in North America next season. Do keep an eye on him, however.

Martin Rysavy (RW/LW) - Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL) - 41GP 7-16-23

Since last update: N/A

There’s been a lot of conversation recently about how the Blue Jackets need bigger, more physical guys on the roster. Enter Martin Rysavy. The Czech winger isn’t putting up big numbers in the WHL, but he’s a big body that plays a physical two-way game. The seventh round pick has a hill to climb to make it to the NHL level, but his size and skillset will have the front office keeping a close eye on his development.

Dropped from update: Eric Hjorth

We would love to hear your comments about any player in the Blue Jackets’ pipeline. Sound off in the comments below.