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Collins "happy with how it played out" on Day 2

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Ryan Collins chuckled when asked if he's done growing.

"I don't believe so," he said.

Collins, who is very accurately listed at 6-foot-5, is known as a defending defenseman but he said there's still room to grow on the other side of the puck. A product of the United States National Team Development Program - much like Blue Jackets' first-round pick Sonny Milano - Collins is committed to the University of Minnesota where he'll play alongside fellow Columbus prospect Mike Reilly.

He met with the Blue Jackets twice during his draft year - once at the Scouting Combine in Toronto and again during his season - and said there was a connection right away. So there wasn't much surprise, mostly excitement, when Columbus called his name at 47th overall.

"I like the way I feel about them and the way they feel about me," Collins said. "I'm happy with how it worked out."

Collins spoke with Reilly earlier in the week, he said, chatting about the draft and the experience he was about to go through. Little did either of them know that they'd both be in the Blue Jackets organization within a matter of days.

"The way it falls is the way it falls, and I'm happy with the way it did," Collins said.

He may not be done growing physically, but Collins' on-ice game has taken significant strides in the last few years. He's not one to put up a ton of offense, but Collins said he's worked hard at being a reliable player at both ends of the rink and is starting to see it pay off.

"I'm a physical defenseman," Collins said. "I'm not a huge open ice hitter but I like to use physicality as an effective part of my game. I'm a big guy and I still have a long way to go to fill out my frame.

"That's one of the reasons I'm very excited to go to Minnesota is their strength program, and the way they develop players. I think my time there depends on how hard I work and what I put into it."

Collins has already spent time on Minnesota's campus this summer, taking classes and participating in workouts with some of his new Gopher teammates.

"There's not too many people on campus right now," Collins joked. "But I get to spend some time with the team, do some workouts, classes and it's good to get acquainted with the campus."

His next meeting with the Blue Jackets will be in early July, when he's scheduled to attend Blue Jackets development camp.

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