CHICAGO - The Columbus Blue Jackets wrapped up the 2017 National Hockey League Draft by selecting seven players during rounds two through seven at United Center in Chicago. During the two-day draft, the Jackets selected five forward, along with a defenseman and goaltender.
The Blue Jackets acquired a second round selection, 45th overall, from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for 2015 third round pick Keegan Kolesar. With that pick, Columbus used its first selection of the NHL Draft on Grenoble (France) center Alexandre Texier. The St. Martin D'Heres, France native captured the Jean-Pierre Graff Trophy as the French League's Best Young Player in 2016-17 after notching 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points with 69 penalty minutes in 40 regular season games and adding 5-5-10 and 12 penalty minutes in 12 playoffs contests with Grenoble.
Texier, 17, also skated for France at the IIHF D1A U18 and World Junior Championships in 2017, helping the country to a bronze medal at the Junior tournament and being named the U18's best forward in helping win gold. He posted 63-52-115 in 42 career games with Grenoble's U18 team from 2013-16, including 40-30-70 and 26 penalty minutes in 17 games in 2015-16. He also added 9-8-17 in 11 games with Grenoble's U22 team that season.
Video: CBJ's 45th pick in the NHL Draft, Alexandre Texier
In the third round, the Blue Jackets selected goaltender Daniil Tarasov, 18, with the 86th overall selection. The netminder, who missed all of the 2016-17 campaign due to injury, posted a 2.55 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in nine games with Tolpar Ufa of the Russian Junior league (MHL) in 2015-16 and had a .946 save percentage in 20 games with the Ufa U17 team (Russia U18 league). The 6-4, 180-pound native of Novokuznetsk, Russia was also named one of the country's top three players at the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championships after posting a 2.11 GAA and .921 SV% in five games. His father, Vadim, was also a goaltender and was selected 196th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1999 NHL Draft.
Columbus used its fourth round pick, 117th overall, to select center/right wing Emil Bemstrom, 18, from Leksands Jr of the Swedish Junior League (SuperElit). He posted 21-12-33 and 35 penalty minutes in 28 games with Leksands Jr and made his Swedish Hockey League debut, skating in five games with Leksands IF. The 5-11, 177-pound native of Nykoping, Sweden also posted 1-1-2 in seven games at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championships. In 2015-16, he played in five games with Leksands Jr (SuperElit) and recorded 18-22-40 in 35 games with the U18 team (Elit/Allsvenskan leagues).
The Blue Jackets selected left wing Kale Howarth of the Trail Smoke Eaters of the British Columbia Hockey League in the fifth round, 148th overall. The 20-year-old tallied 30-28-58 with 46 penalty minutes in 51 games in his second season with the club. The Red Deer, Alberta native made his BCHL debut in 2015-16, collecting 12-15-27 and 62 penalty minutes in 53 games with Trail. The 6-5, 208-pound forward is set to play at the University of Connecticut in 2018-19.
Video: The Columbus Blue Jackets' 86th pick, Daniil Tarasov
With their first selection in the sixth round, 170th overall, the Columbus picked right wing Jonathan Davidsson of Djurgardens IF in the SHL. He posted 3-9-12 and 16 penalty minutes in 44 games with Djurgardens and added 5-7-12 in 11 games with Djurgardens' junior team in the SuperElit. The 20-year-old native of Tyreso, Sweden has notched 3-9-12 in 56 career games in the SHL and 32-63-95 in 89 career games in the SuperElit.
The Jackets used their second pick in the sixth round, 179th overall, on Powell, Ohio native Carson Meyer. The 19-year-old forward made his collegiate debut with Miami (Ohio) in 2016-17, posting 10-16-26 and 14 penalty minutes in 32 games. He helped the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League capture the Clark Cup championship in 2015-16 with 32-19-51 and 47 penalty minutes in 56 regular season games and 5-6-11 in 11 postseason contests. Playing for the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets Bantam Major, U16 and U18 teams from 2011-15, the 5-10, 180-pound right wing attended the Blue Jackets development camp last summer.
With their final selection in the NHL Draft, the Blue Jackets selected St. Thomas Academy (Minnesota) defenseman Robbie Stucker. The 6-3, 178-pound native of St. Paul, Minnesota notched 8-32-40 and 20 penalty minutes in 25 games at St. Thomas in 2016-17. He has collected 17-84-101 and 116 penalty minutes in 127 career games at St. Thomas. The blueliner is slated to attend Colorado College in 2018-19.
Blue Jackets Draft Recap: Rd 2 (45) - Alexandre Texier, C (Grenoble/France)… Rd 3 (86) - Daniil Tarasov, G (Tolpar Ufa/MHL)… Rd 4 (117) - Emil Bemstrom, C/RW (Leksand Jr/SuperElit)… Rd 5 (148) - Kale Howarth, LW (Trail/BCHL)… Rd 6 (170) - Jonathan Davidsson, RW (Djurgardens/SHL)… Rd 6 (179) - Carson Meyer, RW (Miami/NCHC)… Rd 7 (210) - Robbie Stucker, D (St. Thomas Academy/USHS)