In the System: April 2023 Prospect Update
Updates on the non-AHL prospects for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
There will be a few changes to this list from the last time we checked in on our prospects' progress. Corson Ceulemans and Mikael Pyyhtia have both joined the Cleveland Monsters for the remainder of the season. So they get to graduate to the Going North updates. We also have a newcomers in Hunter McKown and Cameron Butler. Even though McKown is currently in Columbus, he's a new prospect and deserves a spot on this list. Let's take a look at what's going on in the wonderful world of prospect hockey.
Hunter McKown C - Columbus Blue Jackets/Colorado College (NCAA)
21-7-28 38GP (NCAA)
0-1-1 6GP (NHL)
McKown is a 6'1" 205lb center that was recently signed to an ELC after his season with Colorado College in the NCAA had ended. He had a decent first couple of games and got his first NHL assist in his first game, but has struggled since. But hey, the entire team has struggled so how much stock can be put into things like possession stats at this point? The bright spot for McKown has been at the faceoff dot. He's taken 37 faceoffs so far at the NHL level and has won 25 of them (68%). How impressive is that coming straight out of college?
McKown will likely start next season in Cleveland, but you can never have too many center prospects. Word on the street is that the Blue Jackets weren't the only team pursuing Hunter, so there's obviously something there that NHL scouts see as promising.
Jordan Dumais RW - Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
54-86-140 - 64GP
9-22-31 - 13GP since last update
The last time a Q player scored 140 points in a season was Alexander Radulov in 2005-06 (152). Dumais is only the 7th player to score 140 points or more in a season in this century. To say what he's done is impressive would be quite the understatement. The fact that he could end up back in the Q next season is equally as crazy as his stat line from this season. If he doesn't make the NHL roster in October, he'll be heading right back to Halifax.
The Mooseheads have begun their playoff run. They are currently up 2-0 over the Cape Breton Eagles - Dumais is 0-3-3 in those 2 playoff games.
Dmitri Voronkov C - Ak Bars Kazan (KHL)
18-13-31 - 54GP
2-3-5 - 9GP since last update
Voronkov has made a lot of noise in the KHL in this calendar year. He's never been known as a prolific scorer, but more of a two-way, hard to play against center. While he still isn't a Marchenko, he has taken a big step forward offensively. His improvement this season should make Columbus fans excited about his North American debut next season. It's rumored that he will be signing his ELC as soon as his season is over.
Ak Bars has already played 13 playoff games. They lead Avangard 1-0 in the conference finals.
Denton Mateychuk LHD - Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
8-57-65 - 63GP
3-8-11 - 8GP since last update
The Warriors' captain finished the season tied for 7th in points among WHL defenseman. So far, Denton has lived up to his draft position in the 2022 draft. He's about as pure of a puck moving defenseman as you will find in 2023 and his stat line proves that. The Blue Jackets won't rush him to the NHL, but they have to be excited about what they have in him. He's the type of defenseman, like a Makar or Fox, that teams need in the modern NHL.
Moose Jaw is up 2-0 in their first round WHL playoff matchup against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Stanislav Svozil LHD - Regina Pats (WHL)
14-69-83 - 58GP
4-7-11 - 10GP since last update
Svozil finished the season 3rd in scoring among WHL defenseman, beating out Mateychuk by 13 points in 7 less games. I still think there is an outside chance that Svozil makes the NHL roster for next season. But unlike Mateychuk, Svozil will be in Cleveland if he doesn't. He plays a very similar game to Mateychuk and the two could end up directly competing for the same spot in Columbus somewhere down the road. Mateychuk may have been drafted higher and may have the higher overall ceiling, but don't sleep on the Czech. Svozil has elevated himself since his draft day.
Regina is up 2-0 in their first round matchup against the Saskatoon Blades. Svozil has played a big part in that matchup with 3-2-5 in those 2 games.
Luca Del Bel Belluz C - Sarnia Sting (OHL)
40-47-87 - 66GP
7-12-19 - 10GP since last update
LDBB had a boost in production after being traded to Sarnia from Mississauga. Specifically, he's been a monster in his last 10 games. Aside from the 19 points, he's taken 167 faceoffs and won 62% of them. It's difficult to say what kind of upside Luca may have at the NHL level. That said, I don't think middle-six center is out of the question. He will likely be back in Sarnia next season, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Keep an eye on this kid.
Sarnia is up 2-0 in the first round of the OHL playoffs in a matchup against the Guelph Storm. Luca is 3-0-3 in those 2 games.
Cameron Butler RW - Oshawa Generals (OHL)
11-30-41 - 64GP (2021-22)
27-28-55 - 63GP (2022-23)
Butler was also recently signed to an ELC. There's no doubt that his big jump in production this season caught a few eyes in the NHL. That along with his size. He's currently listed at 6'4" 209lbs. He was previously captain of the IceDogs before being traded to the Generals. He could find himself in Cleveland next season, where I'm sure his big frame would be welcome. The intent here is pretty obvious. Jarmo and company want a Josh Anderson type player and, aside from Voronkov, there really isn't one in the system. Butler may never crack the NHL, but this team has the contract space and there isn't much risk involved with taking a gamble like this.