The NHL draft is just around the corner, and yet again, the Blue Jackets will be major players.

After finishing last in the Eastern Conference and with the fourth worst record in the NHL this past season, Columbus earned the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming draft when the lottery was held in May.

The Blue Jackets now have the chance to add another major building block to the mix when the picks are made in Vegas’ Sphere on June 28-29. It will be the fourth straight season Columbus has picked in the top six and gives the Blue Jackets a seventh first-round pick in the last four drafts.

So who will be the first-rounder who leaves Vegas wearing union blue? The general consensus is that Canadian center Macklin Celebrini will go No. 1 overall to San Jose, then things get interesting. There are franchise centers, exciting wings and game-changing defensemen on the board following Celebrini, but no one seems to know how things will shake out when Chicago picks second and Anaheim selects third.

With the first round of the draft now just 11 days away, today we debut our annual consensus draft poll. This piece should allow CBJ fans a chance to get to know the top players on the board as well as some a little further down that could still end up being Blue Jackets with later picks. After all, you never know what might happen on the draft floor.


The poll in this story combines the NHL draft rankings of 14 different media and scouting experts, all mixed into one to give Blue Jackets fans a look at the players Columbus might select in the first round and perhaps even beyond.

To create the consensus poll, we took each of the 14 rankings and assigned points to the top 32 players listed. The top player in each draft ranking received 32 points, the second 31, and so on until one point was given to the No. 32-ranked player. We then combined all the results to come up with a consensus poll of the top 32 players in the draft.

It's important to note this is not the draft board being used by the Blue Jackets' front office, but merely a way to get a sense of how the prospects available are viewed by the hockey world at large going into the draft.

The rankings used include those produced by Corey Pronman (The Athletic), Scott Wheeler (The Athletic), Chris Peters (FloHockey), Ryan Kennedy (The Hockey News), Tony Ferrari (The Hockey News), Jason Bukala (Sportsnet), Peter Baracchini (The Hockey Writers) and Byron Bader (HockeyProspecting.com) as well as those produced by EliteProspects.com, FC Hockey, McKeens Hockey, HockeyProspect.com, Smaht Scouting and Dobber Prospects.

In all, 59 players appeared on the different lists, with just 15 players appearing in the top 32 of all 14 rankings.

What to Know

Breaking down the numbers shows a couple of trends fans should be aware of going into the draft.

Differences of opinion: As we said earlier, Celebrini seems cemented into the top spot, but anyone could go next depending on how each team’s draft board looks. Of the 14 rankings we used, 11 had dynamic Russian wing Ivan Demidov as the second-best player available, but two rankings went with college hockey defenseman Artyom Levshunov and another went with big Canadian center Cayden Lindstrom.

Going a little deeper, nine different players were ranked third by the 14 different rankings, while 12 players were ranked in the top five of at least one ranking. In other words, it’s going to be really interesting to see what unfolds in Vegas.

Defensemen reign: This has been described as a defense-heavy draft, and indeed, five of the top 10 players in our consensus poll – No. 3 Zeev Buium, No. 4 Levshunov, No. 7 Sam Dickinson, No. 8 Zayne Parekh and No. 10 Anton Silayev – skate on the blue line. Last year, just two defensemen went in the top 10, and we haven’t had a draft with at least five blueliners in the top 10 since 2012.

Where they’re from: This year’s consensus poll is led by seven players who spent this past season in Canada’s Western Hockey League and six more who played on the Ontario Hockey League. Four come from the KHL, three from NCAA hockey, three from the U.S. National Team program, and three more from the junior-level United States Hockey League. The remaining six players skated overseas this past season, with two each in Finland and Sweden and one apiece in Norway and Czechia.

The U.S. National Team Development Program starred in each of the last two drafts, producing two top-10 picks in each of the past two drafts and 10 of the 64 first-rounders the past two years. This year, the crop of young Americans appears a little less bountiful, as this consensus poll has just three USNTDP alums, including just one in the top 28.

Meet The Prospects

Stats and profiles of the top 32 players in our consensus poll follow.

  1. C Macklin Celebrini

5-11¾, 197/Boston University (NCAA)/No. 1-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Blue Jackets fans can dream of Celebrini landing in Columbus, but it likely won’t happen, as San Jose general manager Mike Grier has all but said the Vancouver native will be taken No. 1 overall by the Sharks. The top player in each of the lists used for these composite rankings, Celebrini became the fourth freshman – and second in a row, after Adam Fantilli – to win the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey. With 32 goals and 32 assists for 64 points in 38 games with the Terriers, he finished second in the nation in goals and third in points, and he also had a 4-4-8 line in five games at the World Juniors.

  1. RW Ivan Demidov

6-0½, 192/SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)/No. 2-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting

Demidov might be this year’s version of Matvei Michkov, the uber-talented Russian wing who ended up going eighth overall to Philadelphia a season ago. Scouts can’t help but compare the two, as Demidov has game-changing skill, posting 23-37-60 in 30 regular-season games with SKA’s junior squad and adding 28 more points in 17 playoff games. The fact he played this year in juniors rather than at the KHL level makes him a bit hard to project, but his game-changing skill as both a passer and shooter jumps off the page.

  1. LHD Zeev Buium

6-0, 186/Denver University (NCAA)/No. 4-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Buium was a big part of the NCAA champion Pioneers squad, as the California native had 11 goals, 50 points and a plus-33 rating in 42 games on the season to finish as the top-scoring defenseman in college hockey. He was also a member of the gold medal-winning United States team at the World Juniors, adding a 3-2-5 line in seven games. Buium is the first ever draft-eligible defenseman to notch 50 points in college hockey, and he has tremendous hockey sense and skating ability, making him a modern defenseman.

  1. RHD Artyom Levshunov

6-1¾, 205/Michigan State (NCAA)/No. 2-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Levshunov was a key part of a resurgent program at Michigan State, which won the Big Ten title for the first time ever and made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012. A big defenseman with a lot of offensive skill from Belarus, Levshunov came to North America in 2022-23 to play with Green Bay of the USHL, then had an excellent freshman year with the Spartans in which he had nine goals and 35 points in 38 games, as well as a plus-27 rating. His point total ranks second among first-year draft-eligible defensemen in college hockey in the last three decades.

  1. C Cayden Lindstrom

6-3, 213/Medicine Hat (WHL)/No. 3-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

If you’re looking for a big center at the top of the draft, Lindstrom is your guy. He plays with an edge, but he was also on pace for a tremendous scoring season this year with the Tigers, posting a 27-19-46 line in 32 games before missing half of the season with multiple injuries. That injury history is considered by some to be a red flag, but there aren’t any other high-end prospects in this draft that combine his size, offensive ability and snarl.

  1. C Berkly Catton

5-10¼, 175/Spokane (WHL)/No. 8-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

A late riser, Catton isn’t the biggest player but brings speed, skill and tenacity to the equation. His 54-62-118 line placed him third in the WHL in goals and fourth in points, so while he doesn’t have ideal size for an NHL center, his skill and ability to create will make him an attractive prospect. Catton joined Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and Connor Bedard as the only draft-eligible CHL players to record 50-plus goals and 115-plus points since 2000.

  1. LHD Sam Dickinson

6-2¾, 203/London (OHL)/No. 7-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Dickinson was on the London juggernaut that won the OHL in convincing fashion, and on a team of future pros, he still jumped off the page. He has excellent size for a defensive prospect but still produces a lot on the scoresheet, posting an 18-52-70 line in 68 games with the Knights. He’s raw and skilled, with a tremendous amount of upside.

  1. RHD Zayne Parekh

6-0¼, 178/Saginaw (OHL)/No. 5-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Parekh did it all this season for a Spirit team that won the Memorial Cup in dramatic fashion, downing London with a last-minute goal to win the Canadian junior title on home ice. The stats jump off the page, as Parekh posted 33 goals and 96 points in 66 games, then was right around a point per game in the postseason as well. His production ranks third in OHL history for a draft-eligible defenseman, and his goal total shows he can put the puck in the net.

  1. C Tij Iginla

6-0, 191/Kelowna (WHL)/No. 9-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

The son of legendary NHLer Jarome Iginla, Tij sounds like he plays like his dad, combining physical play with scoring touch. Iginla is coming off a season in which he tied for sixth in the WHL with 47 goals, adding 37 assists for 84 points in 64 games. Still just 17, Iginla also shined for Canada at the World U-18s, posting a 6-6-12 line in seven contests. Iginla has been moving up draft boards, as his all-around play improved throughout the campaign and he has one of the best shots in the draft.

  1. LHD Anton Silayev

6-7, 211/Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)/No. 1-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting

Silayev will be an interesting player to watch at the draft, as while he’s projected all over the first round by our raters, no one at the top of the board brings his size to the table. He’s known as an excellent skater for a blueliner at 6-7, so it’s not hard to project how he can be a difference maker in the NHL once he adds experience. Silayev spent the entire season with Torpedo at the KHL level, notching three goals and 11 points in 63 games; don’t mind the point total, as he was playing against men at 17 years old. He’s under contract with Torpedo through 2025-26.

  1. C Konsta Helenius

5-11, 189/Jukurit (Finland)/No. 3-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting

Helenius might not wow from a physical standpoint, but he’s a solid, smart all-around pivot, as evidenced by the fact he not only played in Finland’s top-level Liiga, he excelled. On loan from Tappara this season, Helenius had a 14-22-36 line in 51 games with Jukurit, the fourth-best total ever for a U-18 player in a Liiga known for its defensive game. He’s also an experienced international player, skating at the World U-18 championships, the World Juniors and the World Championships this season.

  1. LW Cole Eiserman

5-11¾, 197/U.S. National Team Development Program/No. 12-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Eiseman is one of the most intriguing players in the draft, and there’s no doubt he can put the puck in the net. After posting 58 goals in 57 games this year with the U.S. Under-18 national team, Eiserman’s career total of 127 tallies is first all-time in program history ahead of such names as Cole Caufield, Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews. The knock on Eiserman is he’s described by many as a one-trick pony, but you can argue that’s a heck of a trick, as the Massachusetts native’s skill will make him a first-round pick somewhere.

  1. RW Beckett Sennecke

6-2¼, 177/Oshawa (OHL)/No. 13-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Sennecke has moved up draft boards throughout the past year thanks to an excellent season with Oshawa, where he had a 27-41-68 line in 63 games, then dominated the playoffs with 10 goals and 22 points in 16 games for the OHL finalist. He brings good size to the table for a wing and also has plus skating ability and excellent hands.

  1. RHD Carter Yakemchuk

6-3, 202/Calgary (WHL)/No. 11-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Another big defenseman who can score, Yakemchuk could be a sleeper who is moving up draft boards. Some see him as a potential top-10 pick thanks to goal-scoring touch and excellent skating ability, as Yakemchuk led all WHL defensemen with 30 goals this past season. He added 41 assists for 71 points in 60 games, and he fought five times throughout the season, showing off his physical edge.

  1. RW Michael Brandsegg-Nygard

6-0¾, 207/Mora IK (Sweden)/No. 5-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting

Brandsegg-Nygard and countryman Stian Solberg look to be the first-ever Norwegian players selected in the first round of the draft. Playing in Sweden’s Allsvenskan (second level) this past season, he posted an 8-10-18 line in 41 games and stepped up in the playoffs, notching four goals and 10 points in 12 games. He dominated Sweden’s junior level (5-7-12 in seven games) and also had three goals and five points for Norway at the World Championships. Signed with Skellefteå AIK in Sweden’s top division for the upcoming season, Brandsegg-Nygard can impact the game in a lot of ways.

  1. RW Liam Greentree

6-2½, 215/Windsor (OHL)/No. 14-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

The rankings are a bit divided on Greentree, with some seeing him as a potential pick in the top half of the first round and others seeing him falling a bit. His production has been excellent over two seasons with the Spitfires, including this year’s 34-goal, 90-point campaign in 64 games, and he was a member of Canada’s World U-18 team. He has skill and size, but one knock seems to be his skating abilities to this point.

  1. LW Igor Chernyshov

6-2¾, 204/Dynamo Moscow (KHL)/No. 9-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting

A wing with good size, goal-scoring touch and some creativity? Chernyshov could be the next Kirill Marchenko with that résumé, and most see him as a first-round pick. He spent the majority of this past season in the KHL, posting a 3-1-4 line in 34 games with Dynamo, though the KHL is noted for being harsh on young players (he averaged only 8:19 of ice time per game). In juniors, his skill came through, as Chernyshov posted 13-15-28 in 22 games.

  1. RHD Adam Jiricek

6-2½, 182/HC Škoda Plzeň (Czechia)/No. 4-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting

The brother of Blue Jackets defenseman David Jiricek, Adam had a tough season that included an injury suffered – just like his brother – at the World Juniors. That limited him to just one game at the tournament as well as 19 games with Plzeň, where he had no goals and an assist. He was playing against men, though, and production from the blue line can be hard to come by. Big, athletic, right-shot defensemen don’t grow on trees, and there’s a lot of parallels between his game and his big brother’s.

  1. C Michael Hage

6-0¾, 188/Chicago (USHL)/No. 10-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Another product of the excellent Chicago Steel development system that produced Fantilli among others, Hage had an excellent second half and seems like a middle first-round choice. The fourth-leading scorer in the USHL this season, the Ontario native had 33 goals and 75 points in 54 contests for the Steel. He’s signed to play the upcoming season at the University of Michigan.

  1. LW Trevor Connelly

6-0¾, 160/Tri-City (USHL)/No. 6-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Another California native, Connelly placed second in the USHL this season with 78 points, scoring 31 goals and adding 47 assists to go with 88 penalty minutes. He is known for his excellent offensive skills, including performing a “Michigan” lacrosse-style goal for Team USA at the U-18 Worlds, where he had 4-5-9 in seven games. Connelly is committed to play college hockey at Providence College.

  1. LHD Stian Solberg

6-1½, 205/Vålerenga (Norway)/No. 20-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting

Another Norwegian who could end up a first-round pick, Solberg burst onto the scene at this year’s World Championships, where he played big minutes and acquitted himself well with two goals and an even plus-minus in seven games. Solberg notched 5-10-15 in 42 games this year with his Norwegian club team but is set to transfer to Sweden’s Färjestad BK for the upcoming campaign. He has good mobility, solid size and plays a physical game.

  1. C Jett Luchanko

5-11, 187/Guelph (OHL)/No. 20-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Columbus already has a Jet in the system, but this Jett puts the puck in the net rather than keeping it out. A versatile center whose all-around game makes up for his less-than-ideal size, Luchanko had an excellent season with the Storm, posting a 20-54-74 line in 68 games. He was also a member of Canada’s U-18 Worlds team, posting seven points in seven games.

  1. C Sacha Boisvert

6-2, 183/Muskegon (USHL)/No. 16-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

From suburban Montreal, Boisvert chose to take the American path, spending the past two seasons in the USHL. He’s been a consistent scorer in two seasons with the Lumberjacks, following a 45-point season in 2022-23 with a 36-32-68 line in 61 games that placed him fifth in the league in goal scoring. A two-way center with some size, he projects as a middle-six center at the NHL level.

  1. LW Nikita Artamanov

5-11, 187/Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)/No. 19-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting

Rarely does a draft-eligible player make an impact in the KHL, but Artamanov did, posting a 7-16-23 line in 54 games while spending the majority of the season with the top squad. His point total was second among U-19 KHLers this season and seventh all-time, so it’s fair to say Artamanov is ahead of the game. He’s not the biggest wing but has the strength and skill to make an impact offensively.

  1. LW Andrew Basha

5-11¼, 187/Medicine Hat (WHL)/No. 26-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

A native of Calgary, Basha was one of the most productive players in the WHL this past season, posting 30 goals among 85 points. Offense is the name of his game, as Basha will need to work on the other aspects of his play, but he creates enough be a potential first-round selection.

  1. RW Terik Parascak

5-11¾, 179/Prince George (WHL)/No. 15-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Another WHLer, Parascak skated a full season in the CHL for the first time and certainly turned heads, placing eighth in the league with 105 points thanks to 43 goals and 62 helpers in 68 games. He just turned 18 in May and is one of the youngest players available, so there’s a lot to like as you project his game. A smart player with excellent skill, Parascak can create at the next level.

27 (tie). LHD Alfons Freij

6-0½, 197/Växjö (Sweden)/No. 13-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting

The projections for Freij are all over the board, with some seeing him as a potential top-10 pick and others not ranking him as a first-rounder at all. A defenseman with good size and excellent skating ability, Freij spent this year at the U-20 level with Växjö, accumulating a 14-19-33 line in 40 games and also playing at the U-18 Worlds for Sweden. He’ll spend the upcoming season in the second-level Allsvenskan with IF Björklöven.

27 (tie). RW Emil Hemming

6-1¼, 205/TPS (Finland)/No. 6-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting

Not due to turn 18 until the day before the draft, Hemming brings good size and one of the draft’s best shots to the table. Hemming was dominant at the U-20 level this year for TPS, scoring 11 goals in 13 games, and also made it to the Finnish top-level Liiga with the Turku-based club. He skated in 40 games with TPS, scoring seven goals among 11 points, and was on Finland’s World Juniors and U-18 Worlds squads.

  1. C Teddy Stiga

5-10, 178/U.S. National Team Development Program/No. 44-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

A late riser, Stiga is an energy player who plays bigger than his size. Scouts are divided on his ceiling, but the Massachusetts native showed he could produce this year with the USNTDP, scoring 36 goals with 79 points in 61 games. A smart player who had 11 points in seven games with USA’s U-18 Worlds squad, Stiga is headed to Boston College to play college hockey.

  1. RW Ryder Ritchie

6-0¼, 177/Prince Albert (WHL)/No. 19-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

The wing has essentially been a point-per-game player the last two seasons with Prince Albert, including this year’s 19-25-44 line in 47 games. Ritchie also played with Canada’s U-18 Worlds squad, posting a 4-4-8 line in seven contests. He brings a lot of skill to the table and a shot he’s able to disguise well.

  1. RHD EJ Emery

6-3¼, 183/U.S. National Team Development Program/No. 39-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Actually born in British Columbia as the son of a former CFL player, Emery has athletic genes. With his size and smarts, Emery profiles as a potential shutdown defenseman, though he didn’t bring a ton of offense to the table with no goals and 16 assists in 61 games with the USNTDP. He did have six helpers in seven games at the U-18 Worlds.

  1. C Cole Beaudoin

6-2, 210/Barrie (OHL)/No. 25-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

If you’re looking for a big center who can bring some offense late in the first round, Beaudoin might be your man. He’s a hard player to play against given his competitiveness and battle level, but he also had a solid year on the scoresheet with a 28-34-62 line in 67 games with the Colts. Beaudoin also skated on Canada’s U-18 Worlds team, with two goals and two assists in seven games.

Other players ranked, in order of their finish:

  • C Egor Surin (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, KHL)
  • RHD Dominik Badinka (Malmo, Sweden)
  • LHD Cole Hutson (USNTDP)
  • RW Matvei Gridin (Muskegon, USHL)
  • C Linus Eriksson (Djurgärdens, Sweden)
  • RHD Charlie Elick (Brandon, WHL)
  • LW Marek Vanacker (Brantford, OHL)
  • C Julius Miettinen (Everett, WHL)
  • RHD Henry Mews (Ottawa, OHL)
  • LHD Leo Sahlin Wellenius (Växjö, Sweden)
  • C Dean Letourneau (St. Andrews College, Ontario)
  • C Luke Misa (Mississauga, OHL)
  • RHD Harrison Brunicke (Kamloops, WHL)
  • LHD Aron Kiviharju (HIFK, Finland)
  • C Lucas Petterson (MoDo, Sweden)
  • LHD Matvei Shuravin (CSKA Moscow, KHL)
  • LHD Daniil Ustinkov (ZSC Lions, Switzerland)
  • RW Maxim Masse (Chicoutimi, QMJHL)
  • C Nathan Villeneuve (Sudbury, OHL)
  • RHD Ben Danford (Oshawa, OHL)
  • C Kamil Bednarik (USNTDP)
  • LHD Jesse Pulkkinen (JYP Jyväskylä, Finland)
  • RW Justin Poirier (Baie-Comeau, QMJHL)
  • C John Mustard (Waterloo, USHL)
  • RW Miguel Marques (Lethbridge, WHL)
  • RW Sam O’Reilly (London, OHL)
  • LW Max Plante (USNTDP)

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