Columbus Blue Jackets:
With their first four selections in the 2005 draft Columbus selected a quartet of players who enjoyed varying degrees of success in the NHL. First rounder Gilbert Brule would be deemed the disappointment of the group. After recording only 12 goals in 146 games with Columbus, he was dealt to Edmonton for Raffi Torres. Brule would be out of the NHL within 5 years and ended up with 95 career points. Second rounder Adam McQuaid is a towering defender who plays a simple defensive game. Currently with the Bruins, he was moved to Boston for a 5th round pick in 2007. McQuaid is a useful bottom pairing defenseman. Columbus drafted another defenseman with its third pick. Kris Russell has developed into an excellent shot-blocker and mobile defender who is now a member of the Dallas Stars. Columbus dealt him to St. Louis for Nikita Nikitin who was eventually shipped to Edmonton for a 5th round pick. Fourth rounder Jared Boll continues to play for the Blue-Jackets. A team player, Boll is an aggressive veteran player who offers little offense.
The decisions to trade both McQuaid and Russell while they were still young defensemen plying their trade at the NHL level for a pair of mid-round draft picks is an example of asset misuse. While neither player is a Norris Trophy contender they both offer skill sets every successful defense corps requires.
In terms of the draft which turned out the best player ever to wear a Columbus jersey, the easy choice is 2002, when the Blue-Jackets made Rick Nash the top overall selection. The other Blue-Jacket picks in 2002 provided little in the way of quality at the NHL level. Nash is closing in on 1000 career games played and should record goal number 400 early next season. He enjoyed some productive seasons for Columbus before being acquired by the Rangers in a deal that brought Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and a first round selection which turned out to be prospect Kerby Rychel. Anisimov has since been moved to Chicago as part of a larger trade that resulted in Brandon Saad joining Columbus. I would say the Blue-Jackets did quite well with the Nash trade in hindsight. Thus the 2002 draft is the best in team history given the production Nash provided Columbus during his time in the Ohio capital city along with the solid return of players his trade to New York netted the Blue-Jackets.
In the 2004 draft, Columbus had the 8th overall pick, a pair of second round selections along with two more choices in the third. These five players combined to play 70 regular season games recording 2 points in total. The Blue-Jackets picked 12 players in this particular draft with the best of the lot being 12th round pick Grant Clitsome who played 205 career games.
Late Round Bargain:
Columbus has taken a couple of players in the later rounds who have become serviceable NHLer’s. In the 7th round of the 2006 draft, the Blue-Jackets selected Derek Dorsett who currently plays with Vancouver. A versatile winger who can be an effective agitator, Dorsett is a hard working player who offers little offensive upside. He was traded alongside Derick Brassard, John Moore and a 6th round selection in 2014 to the Rangers for Marian Gaborik, Blake Parlett and Steven Delisle.
In 2003, current Senator Marc Methot was drafted in the 6th round by the Blue-Jackets. Methot has carved out a nice career as a big, stay at home defender. Columbus shipped Methot to Ottawa in 2012 for Nick Foligno who has developed into a hard-nosed leader for the Blue-Jackets
Current Blue-Jacket forward Matt Calvert was drafted in the 5th round (127th overall) of the 2008 draft. A feisty, underrated player who can provide occasional offense the diminutive Calvert is an important depth player for the Blue-Jackets.