If Jarmo Kekelainen’s past is any suggestion, he’ll be one to watch at the NHL Entry Draft.
The Blue Jackets GM — who, two months ago, shook up the trade deadline by acquiring Marian Gaborik — has vowed to be a mover and/or shaker at Sunday’s draft in New Jersey.
“Every draft is different, not just the players available but the conversations between clubs,” he told the Columbus Dispatch. “We’re going to be active and aggressive.”
That’s a quote worth paying attention to, as the rookie GM has the tools at his disposal to make a real splash.
Columbus holds three first-round picks — No. 14, 19 and 27 overall — and heads into Sunday with 17 players under contract for next season and over $18 million in cap space.
Kekalainen also has experience in holding three first-round picks from his time as St. Louis’ “draft guru.”
Here’s more, from the Dispatch:
The Sharks took Logan Couture with the No. 9 pick, and the Blues took Lars Eller, who was later traded to Montreal for goaltender Jaroslav Halak. The Blues traded the No. 24 pick and a third-round pick to Calgary for No. 18 and took defenseman Ian Cole, who has had a so-so career. With the 26th overall pick, the Blues drafted [David] Perron, one of their “foundation” players.
“We would have taken Eller at No. 9, but we thought we’d get him later, and we were right,” Kekalainen said. “For San Jose, Couture was definitely a player worth moving up for.”
Kekalainen says his approach to drafting players is very basic.