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Blue Jackets look to get in on draft action on day two

Columbus has had success on second day of NHL draft

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider /

Day one has come and gone in the 2019 NHL Draft, and the Blue Jackets were unable to move back into Friday night's first round. 

But will more surprises be in store for Saturday as the draft concludes with rounds two through seven? 

You never know, of course. Columbus goes into the day with just third- and seventh-round picks (Nos. 81 and 212, respectively) after a bevy of trades the past few years, including deals at this year's deadline that sent the team's first, fourth and seventh-round picks to Ottawa and the New York Rangers for help. 

DRAFT CENTRAL: Follow the Blue Jackets in the 2019 NHL Draft

Saturday could be a busy day, though, as general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and his staff look to add a few more picks if the deal is right. With free agency right around the corner, the 2019-20 salary cap figure likely to be announced Saturday and the Jackets potentially having some cap flexibility, perhaps Saturday could be ripe with deals.  

No matter what happens, the team will be looking to snag some talent in the late rounds. While the hit rate levels off as the draft goes on -- only about 10 percent of fourth-round picks play at least 400 NHL games, for example -- there are still future NHL players to be had as the draft goes on. 

Video: Kekalainen discusses expectations for the weekend

So what will Columbus be looking for as it goes deeper in the selection process? 

"We're looking for hockey sense, we're looking for instincts, we're looking for character, heart, drive, desire -- those things mostly," Kekalainen said Thursday. "Of course in today's game you have to be able to skate, you have to have skill and be able to play at a high speed and all of those things that are the easiest things to see, but what are the hardest parts? The instincts, the hockey sense and the heart and character. 

"Those need to be studied for games and games and games, background checks and all kinds of different things our scouts do all year long before they put the order together." 

So there's an art and a science when it comes to picking later in the draft. Obviously the talents aren't can't-miss prospects or they'd be taken in the first round, but it comes down to projecting talent, measuring the unmeasurables or perhaps just a scout who believes in a kid.  

"If our area guys are passionate about somebody, then maybe we try to put them in the place where we have a chance to get them," Blue Jackets director of amateur scouting Ville Siren said. 

Below is a look at some of the notable draft picks Columbus has snagged in rounds two through seven: 

Second round: Tim Jackman (2001), Dan Fritsche (2003), Adam McQuaid (2005), Boone Jenner (2011), Alexandre Texier (2017) 

Third round: Aaron Johnson (2001), Ole-Kristian Tollefson (2002), Kris Russell (2005), Joonas Korpisalo (2012), Oliver Bjorkstrand (2013), Elvis Merzlikins (2014) 

Fourth round: Jared Boll (2005), David Savard (2009), Josh Anderson (2012), Emil Bemstrom (2017) 

Fifth round: Matt Calvert (2008) 

Sixth round: Marc Methot (2003), Cam Atkinson (2008), Dalton Prout (2010), Lukas Sedlak (2011), Vladislav Gavrikov (2015) 

Seventh round or later: Grant Clitsome (2004), Derek Dorsett (2006), Markus Nutivaara (2015), Trey Fix-Wolansky (2018) 

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