The Blue Jackets walked out of Prudential Center last nightdelighted by the players they selected with their three first-round draft picks in the 2013 NHL draft. Forwards Alexander Wennberg (No. 14), Kerby Rychel (No. 19) and Marko Dano (No. 27) are expected to provide scoring punch and, in Rychel’s case, old-fashioned punches when they’re deemed NHL-ready in a couple seasons. And yet like so many other NHL clubs, there was a small sense of deflation when the evening ended. For all the trade talk involving star players, there was only limited action. The Blue Jackets, who’d hoped to boost their lineup with a scoring forward, will now turn their sights to free agency, which opens on Friday. “Surprised, yes,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “There was some talk about moving a pick for a player in the first round. There was a lot of talk about this, a lot of discussions in the days leading up. “But every time we asked, the answer was ‘no’, and we really liked a player that was on the board for our pick. So, we took them and we’re happy.” Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said the day was a success, even though the fruits may not be realized for a season or two. “Our scouts were on notice: ‘If this happens, we’re doing this. If that happens, we’re going here.’ But you have to be ready for curveballs,” Davidson said. “Everybody’s pretty content with the way it went for us.” The day started with news that Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had reached terms on a two-year contract. That brought a sense of calm about the Blue Jackets’ table, Davidson said. “Then it was just about the draft,” Davidson said. “That was a huge relief for us.
No Big Deals, But Jackets Thrilled With Draft
Columbus Dispatch | Jul 1