The 2002 Entry Draft has proved to be the most exciting Draft in franchise history. Columbus owned the rights to the third overall pick, but in a Draft Day trade, the club acquired the No. 1 overall pick from the Florida Panthers. The Blue Jackets selected London Knights left wing Rick Nash. It was an added bonus for Nash, whose hometown of Brampton, Ontario was nearby to Air Canada Centre in Toronto, site of the 2002 Entry Draft.
Jokerit (Finland) goaltender Kari Lehtonen was taken with the second overall pick by the Atlanta Thrashers, while Florida used the third pick acquired from the Blue Jackets to select Medicine Hat defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. Philadelphia, who acquired the fourth pick from Tampa Bay, tabbed Karpat (Finland) defenseman Jon Pitkanen. Pittsburgh had the fifth pick and selected Boston University forward Ryan Whitney.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 2002 ENTRY DRAFT PICKS
|Player ||Position ||Round ||Overall ||Team |
|Rick Nash ||LW || |
|1* ||London (OHL) |
|Joakim Lindstrom ||RW/LW ||2 ||41# ||Modo (Sweden) |
|Ole-Kristian Tollefsen ||D ||3 ||65 ||Lillehammer (Norway) |
|Jeff Genovy ||LW ||3 ||96# ||Des Moines (USHL) |
|Ivan Tkachenko ||LW ||4 ||98 ||Yaroslavl (Russia) |
|Jekabs Redlihs ||D ||4 ||119+ ||Apple Core, N.Y. (EJHL) |
|Lasse Pirjeta ||C/LW ||5 ||133 ||Karpat (Finland) |
|Tim Konsorada ||RW ||6 ||168 ||Brandon (WHL) |
|Jaroslav Balastik ||RW ||6 ||184^ ||Zlin (Czech) |
|Greg Mauldin ||C ||7 ||199 ||UMASS-Amherst (HEA) |
|Steve Goertzen ||RW ||7 ||225^ ||Seattle (WHL) |
|Jaroslav Kracik ||RW ||8 ||231 ||Plzen Jr. (Czech) |
|Sergei Mozyakin ||LW ||9 ||263* ||CSKA (Russia) |
* Acquired from Florida
# Acquired from Atlanta
+ Acquired from NY Islanders
^ Acquired from Philadelphia
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT – RICK NASH, LEFT WING (1st round, 1st overall pick)
Even before he was drafted, Rick Nash could score goals. Lots of them. He lit the lamp 63 times in 112 games with London of the Ontario Hockey League prior to Columbus moving up and taking him with the first overall pick. His scoring continued the very next fall when he made his NHL debut.
Nash played the first game of his NHL career Oct. 10, 2002 vs. Chicago. He scored in the game to become just the eighth first overall pick to score in his first-ever NHL game. Since then he has gone on to score 227 goals and 195 assists for 422 points and 494 penalty minutes in 517 games. He is the Blue Jackets all-time leader in goals, points, power play goals (71), game-winning goals (35), shorthanded goals (12), hat tricks (4), shots on goal (1,667), multi-goal games (34) and multi-point games (106), while ranking second in games played and assists.
After potting 17 goals in 74 games his first season, Nash exploded for 41 goals his second season. He shared the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy with Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Calgary's Jarome Iginla as the NHL's top scorer. He was the youngest player in NHL history to win the goal scoring title.
Nash was limited to 54 games in 2005-06, but still managed to score 31 goals and also was selected to play for Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics. The next season he registered 27 goals, but hit the 30-assist mark for the first time in his career. He played for Canada at the World Championships and had 6-7-13 in nine games. He helped Canada win the gold medal and was named Tournament MVP.
The Brampton, Ontario native notched 38 goals in 2007-08, which included his second career hat trick on Dec. 31 vs. Edmonton. He was selected to play in the All-Star Game, his third selection of his career. He set an All-Star Game record when he scored 0:12 into the game, later added his second goal to become the first player to score two or more goals in consecutive All-Star Games (2-2-4 at 2007 All-Star Game) and then became the 15th player in All-Star Game history to record a hat trick.
The 2008-09 season proved to be statistically Nash's best season to date. He set career highs in assists and points and fell one goal shy of tying his career high in goals. He also was the recipient of the NHL Foundation Player Award, presented annually to a player "in recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community." He set club records for points, multi-multi-goal games (6-tied), multi-point games (24) and shorthanded goals (5). He played in his fourth All-Star Game and had a pair of hat tricks – both against Central Division rival Detroit. Nash also helped the Blue Jackets reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in club history, which saw him score his first playoff goal in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Detroit.
Nash hit the 30-goal mark for the fifth time in 2009-10 and led the Blue Jackets in goals for the sixth-straight season and points for the third-straight. He scored 33-34-67 in 76 games to hit the 30-assist mark for the fourth-straight season and 60-point mark for the third-straight season.
BOYD ON NASH"First pick overall and deservadly so, because he is a world class player. We believed that he would prove it many times over during his career here and that's what he is doing right now. He's a cornerstone piece for a franchise. There was so much said about him in 2002 and he is developing into the leader we thought he could be when we drafted him. ."
Blue Jackets Director of Hockey Operations and Player Personnel Don Boyd joined the organization in 1999 as director of amateur scouting. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, he has spent the past 30 years as a general manager, coach and scout in the NHL, NCAA and Canadian Hockey League.