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Blue Jackets' late-round picks have potential

by Kristyn Repke / Columbus Blue Jackets

-- For every player selected in the NHL Draft, hearing his name called is a moment he'll never forget.

It doesn't matter if a player is picked first overall or in the 211th spot -- every player drafted will have the opportunity to prove himself at development camps and the subsequent hockey season, and to make his NHL dreams a reality.

"Words can’t describe really how happy I am," said Nick Moutrey, a fourth-round pick who went 105th overall to the Blue Jackets in 2013. "It really is a dream come true, and to join a fabulous club like Columbus is just an honor."

Moutrey, Markus Soberg (165th overall) and Peter Quenneville (195th)--late round selections for the Blue Jackets--will be offered the same opportunities as the players drafted in the first round to prove they are NHL ready.

Soberg, a right wing out of the elite Frolunda Jr. team in the Sweden Junior League, is a talented skater with family ties to the NHL. His older brother, Steffan, is a goaltending prospect for the Washington Capitals. Soberg excels at the two-way game and isn't afraid to make physical plays.

Quenneville is also known for his family ties to the NHL. He's a distant cousin of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. This season, (Peter) Quenneville played in the USHL for the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Over 63 games, he scored 33 goals and tallied 70 points at center; his offensive creativity is a skill he'll take with him to college for the Quinnipiac Bobcats next season, and potentially, to Columbus in the future.

A versitile player, Moutrey is comfortable playing on the left wing or at center. He played for the Saginaw Spirit in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), posting 43 points in 65 games during the 2012-13 season.

The Blue Jackets' amateur scouts saw potential in all three players, envisioning them within the organization as prospects who, once fully developed, could make an impact at the game's highest level.

General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen said that the next course of action for the newly-drafted Blue Jackets is to evaluate all drafted players and prospects at development camp, then decide where each player will go and do on an individualized basis.

"You always have to let the players show you where they're at with their play," said Kekalainen. "We'll take a look at them at development camp and see what the best place for them is."

Current Blue Jackets Matt Calvert (127th in 2008), Cam Atkinson (157th in 2008) and Dalton Prout (154th in 2010) were all late-round draft picks for the Blue Jackets that made the jump to the NHL. They've proven that despite being picked in the second half of the draft, the dream of playing in the NHL is within reach, no matter what number they were chosen at.

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