The Columbus Blue Jackets saw Pierre-Luc Dubois as the best fit and selected him 3rd overall in the first round of the NHL entry draft on Friday. This shouldn’t be as much of a shock as some are making it out to be as Dubois was a consistent top 5 projection and ranked the number 1 North American skater by Central Scouting.
It did cause a bit of a ripple effect though as the Oilers used their number 4 pick to acquire Finland World Junior gold medal winner Jesse Puljijarvi, who was unexpectedly still available following the Dubois selection. In turn, the assumed to be Edmonton bound Matthew Tkatchuk ended up in Calgary after falling to the 6th spot.
I think Columbus did a lot of favours here though.
They did themselves a favour by taking a two-way player in Dubois. The Blue Jackets are going to take time to create a system where they can score regularly. While Puljijarvi would have likely helped out with that eventually it would have been hard for him to make the large difference Columbus needs not in the future but yesterday. Dubois will be able to go back and help regain possession which will give him more opportunity to contribute at the other end, which he’s also pretty effective at.
Columbus also did Edmonton a solid. I know the Oilers need defence and have plenty of skilled forwards, but they also have expendable skilled forwards and they were pretty keen on Matthew Tkatchuk anyway (yet another skilled forward). If last year is any indication, I believe there’s a new culture there with higher standards for compete level and attitude. Puljijarvi will be a bona fide replacement for the inevitably departing skill players and his composure and professionalism will leave the leaders (whoever they are) with one less potential locker room killer. Tkatchuk, as I’ve said in the past, has a lower boiling point and I think would be easily swayed off course in the unstable environment that is the Edmonton Oilers.
For the identity seeking Calgary Flames, however, Tkatchuk is probably just the ticket. Johnny Hockey leads a solid young core of accused overachievers who need more of a belief in their swagger to validate themselves to the rest of the league. Tkatchuk can provide this confidence.
All in all the Hockey Gods bestowed what was needed to all three teams. Thankfully for Columbus, the other two are in a different conference.