BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Columbus Blue Jackets pulled the surprise move of the NHL Draft when they took forward Pierre-Luc Dubois with the third overall pick.
The Blue Jackets bypassed Finnish winger Jesse Puljujärvi for the selection. Puljujärvi was ranked third in our mock draft, and was considered one of the top three available players.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Dubois was ranked fifth in our mock draft and had transitioned to center midway through his season with Cape Breton of the QMJHL. There he had 99 points in 67 games played.
He was ranked first amongst central scouting bureau’s North American skaters, ahead of Matthew Tkachuk.
The Edmonton Oilers then took Puljujärvi with the fourth pick.
After Columbus made the pick the crowd at First Niagara Center audibly gasped.
NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr raved about Dubois recently on NHL.com.
"If you need someone to check the other team's top line and be a shut-down forward, he's a guy who can do that," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "If you need someone to generate scoring opportunities, he has the skill, speed and hands to do that too. He's a very all-around player."
"[Dubois and (Matthew) Tkachuk] are bona-fide future stars for an NHL club," Marr said. "And while they both play a different style, their differences for NHL projection are minuscule. Each of them bring elite skills and attributes and either could be listed in the No. 1 spot. Our projection, which factors in how the player's game will translate at the NHL level, gave the slim nod to Dubois, whom we view as a multi-dimensional player possessing the ability to influence a game in a number a ways."
Before the draft, TSN’s Bob McKenzie spoke with TSN 1040 and said that he wasn’t sure if the Blue Jackets would take Puljujärvi with the third overall pick.
“The Columbus one is interesting to me because they’ve got the 3rd pick, and it’s supposed to be a Big 3 in this draft, and why would a team that’s one of the three winners, if you will, be interested in moving down.
“The sense that a lot of people are getting right now is that the Columbus Blue Jackets are not sold on Jesse Puljujärvi at that spot, and that they may be looking at a more positionally-oriented name, and that is a center.
The Oilers are reportedly “thrilled” to land Puljujarvi with the fourth pick, giving them another strong, young forward to their group. For the Blue Jackets, it seemed to be important for them to get an all-around forward with center experience rather than a wing.
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