In a matter of two days, Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson traded away the two players he selected with Columbus' top pick in his first two NHL drafts. With those two players gone, the focus shifts to Howson's three remaining top picks.
"There's always going to be pressure for a top pick in the draft to perform," 2010 first-round pick Ryan Johansen said. "It's nice to have a little pressure because it gives you a little bit of an extra edge and makes you work that much harder."
Although he was relatively unknown when Columbus made him the fourth overall pick in last year's draft, Johansen started to turn heads last season while playing for Portland of the Western Hockey League.
In 63 games with the Winterhawks, Johansen scored 40 goals and 52 assists to lead the team with 92 points. Johansen also led the WHL in with 28 playoff points and carried his team to the Ed Chynoweth Cup Finals.
With the potential to be fully in the spotlight in his first NHL season, Johansen is trying to earn his way on to the roster this season.
"Obviously my main to goal is to make it this year in the NHL but I'm not looking to come in and make a big impact right away," Johansen said. "Wherever they want to put me is where I’m going to work my hardest and be the best I can be. Even if I’m on the fourth or third line, I'm just going to play my role and do what they tell me."
Although he was not a first-round pick, Boone Jenner was Columbus' first pick of the 2011 draft at number 37 overall.
Having just turned 18 years old, Jenner is likely a couple years away from the NHL, but said he still feels the pressure to succeed in the Blue Jackets' organization.
"They've been around for 10 years and (Rick) Nash is their biggest first round pick that has come through," Jenner said. "I'm just going to control what I can control and work as hard as I can work. The Blue Jackets selected me so I am going to honor that with the best effort I can and hopefully everything works out."
Only three days after being drafted, Jenner was immediately put in the spot light as one of the main attractions of the Blue Jackets' development camp.
"It's been a whirlwind. A couple days ago I was in Minneapolis waiting for my name to be called and a few days later I'm here in Columbus training with the guys," Jenner said. "It's been great and I've enjoyed every minute of it."
Along with Johansen and Jenner, defenseman John Moore is Howson's only other remaining top pick. Columbus selected Moore with the 21st pick of the 2009 draft.
In 73 games with AHL Springfield last season, Moore recorded five goals and 19 assists for 24 points. Moore appeared in two games for Columbus last season and did not register a point.