The Cannon Top 25 Under 25 - #21 Oscar Dansk
The former second round pick has dropped in the organization's depth chart, but he's still shown flashes of the talent that made him the top of his draft class. Can he put it back together?
Oscar Dansk was drafted 31st overall in 2012, and seemed to be the face of the franchise's future. With fellow draftees Ryan Murray and Joonas Korpisalo, he was considered the best goaltender in the draft class, and the foundation for a Blue Jackets team that looked to build from the goal out.
Unfortunately, that dream never quite made it to reality. Dansk would make the transition to North America the following year, playing for the Erie Otters, but injuries and a bad team in front of him saw the young netminder post a 4.11 GAA and .888 SV% - some of the worst of his career.
Dansk bounced back the following season, leading Erie into the playoffs, but destructed again in the first round, allowing almost seven goals a game on the way to an early exit.
Going pro for the 2014-2015 season, many hoped that Dansk would shine in a pro environment with regular visits from the Blue Jackets' goaltending coach, but his performances in Springfield were average at best, and a brief stint in the ECHL with the Kalamazoo Wings didn't produce much improvement. Clearly struggling with his game, the organization made the decision to loan Dansk to Rogle BK back in Sweden, and his last season in the SHL was a positive one, posting a 2.68 GAA and .911 SV% in 36 games.
Dansk in 2016-17
Dansk will play for Rogle in this upcoming season, but it's not entirely clear how the goaltender figures in the Jackets' plans going forward. Many still feel he has a good ceiling if he can reclaim the top level form he displayed in his early career, but Joonas Korpisalo, Anton Forsberg, and Elvis Merzlikins all seem to have passed him on the depth chart.
If Dansk can put things back together and deliver another consistent season, with no meltdowns or major injuries, I think the Jackets would like to see him back in North America, giving things another go. Goaltenders can take longer to put things together - Tim Thomas is a great example - and it would be a wonderful story to see him climb back to the top.
That requires a lot of "If" moments, though. For now, it's safe to say that Dansk's future is a cloudy one, and it's certainly possible he may become part of the long history of second round busts for the Blue Jackets.