The Columbus Blue Jackets are proud to unveil their All-Prospect Team, a team consisting entirely of players who are under the age of 24. Without further ado, here is the line-up:

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Lars Eller (1st round in 2007) - T.J. Oshie (1st round in 2005) - Michael Grabner (1st round in 2006)
David Ullstrom (4th round in 2008) - Dave Bolland (2nd round in 2004) - Vladimir Zharkov (3rd round in 2006)
Radek Smolenak (3rd round in 2005) - Frans Nielsen (3rd round in 2002) - Jordan Knackstedt (7th round in 2007)
Johan Alcen (7th round in 2007) - Dustin Jeffrey (6th round in 2007) - Mark Mancari (7th round in 2004)

Luca Sbisa (1st round in 2008) - Kevin Klein (2nd round in 2003)
Ty Wishart (1st round in 2006) - Yuri Alexandrov (2nd round in 2006)
Jonathan Sigalet (4th round in 2005) - Michael Sauer (2nd round in 2005)
Kristoffer Berglund (5th round in 2008) - Alexei Emelin (3rd round in 2004)

Justin Peters (2nd round in 2004)
Marek Benda (undrafted)


The centre position is without a doubt the team's strongest in terms of depth. All four players are currently playing in the NHL and have been putting up decent numbers so far. Oshie is already a complete player and has all the makings of a team captain. Bolland, although not as physically gifted as Oshie, has serious skills around the net but also plays strong defense. He's already on the Blackhawks first penalty killing line and also gets to see limited action on the power play. Same for Nielsen, who is relied upon to perform both PK and PP duties for the Islanders. Lastly there's Jeffrey, who has only played a handful of NHL games but has looked very comfortable. He's defensive minded but has some finishing skills. Oshie and Nielsen are expected to become regulars on the Blue Jackets NEFHL roster in 2010, and Jeffrey could see some action as well depending on his rerate.

Left Wing:

As it turns out, the four left wing prospects are European and, except for Smolenak, still play in Europe. It is therefore a bit difficult to properly judge their skills since I haven't seen them play very often. However, Eller is a highly touted 1st round pick who is expected to come over to the North America next season and could very well win a roster spot on the Blues team straight from training camp. He's putting up good numbers in the SEL and Danish fans think highly of him. Ullstrom, for his part, is currently playing in the WJC for Sweden and has 2g and 2a in 5 games so far. He's a very quick player who enjoys the physical play and isn't afraid of digging for pucks. He also drives to the net hard and can score the dirty goals. As for Smolenak, he made his NHL debut this season for Tampa and performed quite well before being sent back down. He's a big body with soft hands, and when paired up with quality players has the ability to put up serious numbers (12g, 12a, 103 penalty minutes in 30 games in the AHL this season).

Right Wing:

The RW position is a bit of a toss-up. Grabner is by far the prospect with the most potential, but whether he will reach this potential is still unknown. He's been described as a very speedy player who is a natural finisher. Hopefully he continues to develop at the AHL level and the Canucks give him a chance within the next two years. Zharkov and Knackstedt are both young, quality AHL players who are more prone to passing than shooting. They still have some work to do before making it to the NHL, but we have definitely not given up on them yet. Finally, there's Mancari, who I signed earlier this season when he was leading the AHL in points and goals. He was briefly called up by the Sabres and played rather well, but unfortunately he was sent back down in order to protect him from waiver eligibility. I'm hopeful that Buffalo will find a way to make him a regular fixture on their lineup, but I don't know how realistic that is anymore. Ideally he gets traded to a team that would have more use for him, because he has incredible offensive skills (35 points, including 14 goals, in 27 games in the AHL).


If our defense continues developing at its current pace, we may very well find ourselves with 6 homegrown NHLers. Sbisa and Klein are already regulars for their respective teams, and Ty Wishart saw his first taste of NHL action last night and looked very good. He's a big body who prides himself on playing a positional game and isn't afraid to block shots. At the WHL level, he was a phenomenal point producer and we believe that he'll regain his offensive touch once he becomes more comfortable at the pro level. Sigalet and Sauer are currently playing in the AHL and are very important to their teams. Although Sigalet is currently injured and may miss the remainder of the season, he put up 11 points in 19 games, was a team-leading +13,  and was quickly becoming the Jackets' top defensive prospect. Sauer, too, has been having a great season and is probably 2nd on the Rangers prospect depth chart for defensemen, behind Bob Sanguinetti. Finally, there's Yuri Alexandrov, the extremely physical Russian who has a definite scoring touch. I don't know a whole lot about him, but from what I hear he's got a lot of potential. I've also included a 4th defensive pairing, the one of Berglund-Emelin, because these two guys are quality prospects who deserve to be mentioned. Berglund is one of the top offensive-defensemen in the SEL with 19 points 34 games while being the youngest player on his team. He has a smallish frame but makes up for it with his incredible hockey sense. Emelin, for his part, is a big stay-at-home guy whose rough style is much better suited for the NHL than the KHL, where he often gets into penalty trouble. It's rumoured that he'll come over next season and play for the Hamilton Bulldogs, then eventually challenge for a spot on the Habs roster.


Justin Peters has been playing well on a brutal AHL team and was called up by the Hurricanes earlier this season when Cam Ward was injured. He has yet to play in the NHL but it's not unreasonable to think that he could eventually take over Leighton's backup duties for the 'Canes. As it stands, his record in nets for the Albany River Rats is 6-12-2, with a 2.67 GAA and a 0.914 S%: clearly the team's record is not his fault! The back-up, Marek Benda is, how should I put it... total garbage and not worth talking about. All I know is that he was massively struggling in the QMJHL earlier this season as a back-up, so I have entirely given up on him.