The 2014 NHL Draft is just weeks away, and it’s been a quick three years since Boone Jenner pulled the Blue Jackets’ sweater over his head during the 2011 edition of the draft in St. Paul, Minn.
Looking back to his time up until the draft on that Saturday night, Jenner remembers the whole process passing by rapidly: the combine, meetings with teams, and the actual draft itself.
“That whole month leading up to the draft was a whirlwind,” Jenner told BlueJackets.com. “At the end of the day I had no idea where I was going to go, and I had no idea what to expect, but it kind of settled down the last couple days before the draft.”
It did settle down before the draft, so he was able to spend some time with his family before the gut-wrenching weekend of wondering when he would be picked. Jenner was eventually picked in the second round (37th overall) by the Blue Jackets.
On draft day, Jenner didn’t know if he was going to be selected in the first round, which he wasn’t. When he was still available in the second round, the Blue Jackets were licking their chops to choose him.
“Boone was certainly a guy that garnered a lot of attention from our guys throughout that year, and he was pretty high on our draft board,” Blue Jackets’ Assistant General Manager Chris MacFarland told BlueJackets.com. “He was such a hard-working two-way guy, he led by example on the ice, his effort was non-stop, and we admired the way he played. He was so hard to play against, and drove the engine for (Oshawa).
“You want good character people in your organization, and Boone certainly knocks it out of the park. As a young man, you can tell when you talk to him, the way he carries himself and the way he prepares … he’s proud to be a Blue Jacket, and that’s shown from the second he walked up and put on the Blue Jackets jersey and cap for the first time. He’s just a real nice ‘brick,’ as (John Davidson) calls it, in our organization and we were really excited (to select him).”
Jenner said he had a great experience throughout the whole process and worked hard to get drafted as high as he could, but he thought it was surreal to see the everyday NHL executives, players, and team management the hockey community has come to know throughout the arena on draft day.
“Being in the stands and seeing all the general managers, ex-players that you’ve been watching, and just everybody that you see on TV — management and hockey legends,” Jenner said. “To see them walking around the floor, and to see guys that were my age, and then being picked, it was pretty cool.”
At just 20-years-old and three seasons separated from junior hockey, the Jackets’ center has followed the draft each year since he was picked. He likes to see where the players go that he knows from either playing with or against during his time with the Oshawa Generals.
“I follow it every year … I get to know who the top prospects are,” he said. “I’m still right out of juniors so I’ve played against or with a few of the guys who are getting drafted, so it’s cool to kind of see where they go.”
Speaking of players that he knows from his time in Oshawa, Jenner played alongside 2014 projected top-5 pick Michael Dal Colle during his final season with the Generals before making the roster in Columbus. Dal Colle and Jenner played on the same line for the entire 2012-13 season, where they combined for 130 points (60 goals and 70 assists) during the regular season.
“He’s a hell of a player,” Jenner said. “For a 16-year-old last year it took a lot for him to step in and do what he did. That impressed me a lot. I followed him this year, and he put up another great year. He looks like he’s continuing to get better.”
All in all, the experience is one that Jenner explains as funny, because he wasn’t expecting to be picked by the Blue Jackets, although he wasn’t sure what to expect whatsoever.
“It’s funny how things change,” he said. “At the combine I was coming out of my meeting with Columbus thinking, ‘that wasn’t a good meeting.’ I didn’t feel to well about it, but that ends up to be the team that takes me. It’s just funny how things work out, and you never know what’s going to happen. When they took me I was pretty excited.”