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Third Overall Revealed: Columbus Blue Jackets Share Their Pick Plan for the 2023 NHL Draft

Who the Columbus Blue Jackets want to choose with the third overall choice in the 2023 NHL Draft has been given a big hint by the team.

During a conversation on Ohio Sports Radio’s “97.1 The Fan” about the Blue Jackets’ draft preparations, President of Hockey Operations John Davidson gave a big indication about their plans for the third overall pick.

Davidson, when asked about the third pick, responed by saying, “We will get a center, I can tell you that right now.”

With the projected Top 2 picks expected to be Regina Pats C Connor Bedard going 1st to the Chicago Blackhawks, and then Michigan C Adam Fantilli, it appears that Columbus still has it’s eyes set on a Center, and it appears at Pick 3 that Columbus looks to continue the run of Centers as well.

When asked about Pick 3, Davidson responds that he is considering his alternatives. Leo Carlsson, a Swedish center and two-way forward who had one of the most productive seasons by a draft eligible in the Swedish Hockey League, was one of the names that was suggested. Additionally, there is Center Will Smith, the naturally gifted NTDP player who reached new heights following his dominant MVP display at the World U18s.

Both players are high-end prospects, expected to high in this year’s draft. However, this implies this takes Russian star Matvei Michkov out of the situation.

After going scoreless in limited action for SKA St. Petersburg prior to the team loaning him to Sochi, Michkov, a winger, had a dramatic performance for Sochi in the KHL. He exploded back into prominence with 9 Goals and 20 Points in 27 Games for Sochi. Prior to the Rangers’ Vladimir Tarasenko and Artemi Panarin, Michkov had the best PPG of any KHL Draft Eligible.

Michkov not being taken at 3 leaves San Jose the chance of taking the Russian at 4th Overall, and after trading Timo Meier and Brent Burns, they may be able to afford to wait on Michkov, who is contracted to SKA until 2026. As well, Montreal may have the option of Michkov at 5 as well, and needing an impact winger, would be a perfect addition to the Habs young top-six group.

Dalibor Dvorsky, a prominent center from Slovakia who also stood out at the U18s and is one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL Draft, is another guy Columbus is undoubtedly considering. He plays a mature brand of hockey and impresses scouts with a mature defensive skill set that is exceptional for a player of his age.

We will see who Columbus goes with.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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