For the first time in franchise history, the Blue Jackets hold the No. 3 overall pick in the NHL Draft.
Columbus has had a top-five pick before, having picked first in 2002, second in 2012, and fourth in 2000, 2003 and 2010. But to give you an idea of what the third overall pick has produced in the post-lockout era (from 2005 on), here’s a rundown of how No. 3 has fared:
2006 Chicago – Jonathan Toews
- There isn’t really much to explain here – Toews is one of the best players in the league and boasts arguable the best “complete” game in the business. Drafted out of the University of North Dakota, the center from Winnipeg has made his mark since the day he arrived, averaging 63 points per year over nine seasons and taking home both the Conn Smythe and Selke Trophies in 2009-10 and 2012-13, respectively. Add that on to his 39 goal and 108-point output in 124 postseason games, and you have a No. 3 overall pick who has lived up to the hype and then some as the Blackhawks’ captain.
2005 Carolina – Jack Johnson
- Though the Hurricanes originally drafted Johnson out of Michigan, the current Blue Jackets defenseman was traded to the Los Angeles Kings shortly afterwards. He spent six seasons in Los Angeles before being traded again, this time to Columbus, where he was named an alternate captain on a Blue Jackets team that made the 2014 playoffs and finished seventh in the Eastern Conference. Johnson also represented the United States in the 2010 Winter Olympics, where he registered one assist in six games on the way to winning a silver medal in his most significant international appearance.
2013 Tampa Bay - Jonathan Drouin
- After a somewhat rocky start to his professional hockey career, the flashy forward drafted by Tampa Bay out of Halifax (QMJHL) was one of the stars of this past season’s Stanley Cup playoffs. In 17 games, Drouin registered 14 points on five goals and nine assists, helping to spark the Lightning offense in the absence of captain Steven Stamkos. His 14.3 percent shooting percentage in the playoffs was good for 10th amongst skaters with at least 35 shots. While he has yet to see sustained success at the highest level, Drouin’s performance in the playoffs seems to indicate the potential this former No. 3 pick brings to the table.
2011 Florida – Jonathan Huberdeau
- Though Huberdeau is yet another No. 3 overall pick named Jonathan, he wasted little time making his mark in the NHL after being drafted, like Drouin, out of the QMJHL (Saint John Sea Dogs). The cerebral center took home the Calder Trophy following a 2012-13 season that saw him rack up 31 points in 48 games for the Panthers, finishing tied for fourth in assists amongst rookies with 17. Since then, Huberdeau has been a good distributor for Florida, finishing in the top 40 in the league in assists in each of the last two seasons.
2009 Colorado – Matt Duchene
- A speedy center drafted by Colorado from the Brampton Battalion, Duchene finished third in Calder Trophy voting in his first season, racking up 31 assists to finish second among all NHL rookies. Though he missed out on some playing time in 2011-12 due to injuries and in 2012-13 due to the lockout, he has averaged 61.2 points in the five seasons in which he played in over 60 games.
2015 Arizona - Dylan Strome – Erie Otters
2014 Edmonton – Leon Draisaitl – Prince Albert Raiders
2013 Tampa Bay - Jonathan Drouin – Halifax Mooseheads
2012 Montreal - Alex Galchenyuk – Sarnia Sting
2011 Florida – Jonathan Huberdeau – Saint John Sea Dogs
2010 Florida – Erik Gudbranson – Kingston Frontenacs
2009 Colorado – Matt Duchene – Brampton Battalion
2008 Atlanta – Zach Bogosian – Peterborough Petes
2007 Phoenix – Kyle Turris – Wisconsin
2006 Chicago – Jonathan Toews –North Dakota
2005 Carolina – Jack Johnson – Michigan