I think it’s safe to say the Columbus Blue Jackets’ defensive depth went from a weakness to a definite strength after tonight. Jarmo Kekalainen and Co. went back to the defensive well and selected Denton Mateychuk from the WHL at #12 overall.
Mateychuk is more of an offensive defenseman, and as mentioned in the scouting report, his play style has been compared to that of Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes. His size and physicality are an area of concern, but his ceiling is very high. He was nearly a point-per-game this season, and was named a captain at the NHL Top Prospects game.
Mateychuk is still most likely a few years away from taking the next step, so there is still time for development in all areas of his game. This pick seemed like a “best player available” rather than a pick based off of positional need as it seemingly left a lot of fans scratching their heads as there were a few centers still on the board.
Here’s what the Athletic’s Corey Pronman had to say about the pick:
Thoughts on the pick: With Jiricek and Mateychuk in the pipeline, the Blue Jackets have massively upgraded the defense talent in their system. Mateychuk is one of the most, if not the most, dynamic defensemen in the draft, but he is 5-foot-11 as well. I like the swing on the talent here for the Blue Jackets, who after adding several top center prospects in 2021 have now shored up their blue line of the future.
What are your thoughts on the Mateychuk pick?