While the New York Rangers weren't particularly thrilled with a second-round exit in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs, the Blue Jackets have to be pleased.
Last summer's trade of Rick Nash brought the Rangers' first-round pick in this NHL draft as part of a package that included Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Tim Erixon - all of whom made significant impacts in their first season with Columbus. Where that pick would fall in the draft order could only be determined when the Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs, and that occurred last night in Game 5 at TD Garden.
The Boston Bruins recorded a 3-1 win to knock out the Rangers in five games, a disappointing performance for a New York club that was tantalizingly close to the Stanley Cup Final a year ago. That means the Blue Jackets will pick no lower than No. 19 overall with the Rangers' selection, and with a possibility of moving up to the No. 18 spot if the Detroit Red Wings advance to the Western Conference Final.
They currently hold a 3-2 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks, so the prospects of moving up one spot remain pretty good.
As it stands today, the Blue Jackets own picks No. 14 and No. 19 with the final pick - originally belonging to the Los Angeles Kings prior to the Jack Johnson deal - yet to be determined. If the Kings advance to the conference final with a win in either of their next two games vs. San Jose, the Blue Jackets will be picking at 27, 29 or 30 overall.
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said last week that he views this NHL Draft as a major opportunity for not just his scouting staff, but for the entire organization as they continue their "brick by brick" approach.
"It’s a great opportunity for our franchise and also a great opportunity for our scouting staff to make a name for themselves and the organization," Keklainen told BlueJackets.com. "That’s the way I’m looking at it: that it’s a great opportunity for all of us.
"From what I’ve seen, there are some very good players in this draft sooner rather than later in the NHL. We’re going to keep our fingers crossed and do our best to make different moves to get one, two or maybe three of those players.”
Another item that was finalized after last night's results: the Blue Jackets officially send a third-round pick to the Rangers as part of the Nash deal. Had the Rangers advanced to the conference final, Columbus would have retained that pick.
Here's a rundown of the currently-held Blue Jackets selections in the draft: 14, 18/19, the Kings' pick, 44, 105, 165, 195.