The Columbus Blue Jackets just had one of the biggest reaches in draft history, selecting a player that seemingly nobody, not even the draft experts, had even heard of before tonight.
There’s reaching in the draft, and then there’s what the Columbus Blue Jackets just did with their first-round pick, reaching for a player that several draft experts didn’t even have in their top 100 heading into the draft.
With the 21st overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, the Blue Jackets selected Yegor Chinakhov, a 19-year-old Russian right-winger. Chinakhov was eligible to be drafted last year but was not selected.
The pick was so off the board, the Sportsnet panel covering the draft had no highlights prepared for him, and the panel was completely stumped with nothing to say about this pick.
Who is this random guy the Columbus Blue Jackets selected in the first round?
Now that’s not to say that Chinakhov is a bad pick and is guaranteed to be a bust, there’s actually some potential that this could be a great pick. While he went undrafted last year, he made significant developments to his game across the board and has a tremendous wrist shot.
However, this is undoubtedly a tremendous reach. With the third-round pick that the Blue Jackets acquired from Montreal in the Max Domi/Josh Anderson trade earlier in the day, they probably could’ve gotten the same player. Especially when with the very next pick, the Washington Capitals selected Hendrik Lapierre, which is already being lauded as the steal of the draft.
Chinakhov is just the Blue Jackets second first-round pick of the last four years, and only their fourth draft pick at all in the last two drafts after trading their first, second, and third-round pick last season. Jarmo Kekalainen must love what he sees in him because he is risking looking like a tremendous fool if this gamble doesn’t work out.