Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh
Round One: Friday, June 22 – 7PM
Rounds Two through Seven: Saturday, June 23 – 10AM
We have the pre-draft thoughts out of the way, so let’s talk about the NHL Draft itself. Like all pro sports drafts, the event is a great way to get your offseason hockey fix and to look forward to the upcoming season.
GOTTA SEE IT LIVE
The draft itself will be held in Pittsburgh – only three and a half hours from Columbus, and eminently road trip-worthy. (Here are directions in case you want to make the drive.) The draft rotates around the league as one of its marquee events (like Columbus’ All-Star Game in January), so it’s exciting to have it so close to home.
If you’re going to Pittsburgh, make sure you check in on this page on June 5th at 10AM to claim one of only 5,000 free tickets (1,500 for Friday, 3,500 for Saturday) and ensure a seat in the arena. This is not a walk-up event; no ticket, no entry.
CLOSER TO HOME
At the same time, the Blue Jackets will be holding a Draft Party and Open House at Nationwide Arena. Doors open at 6PM, and Blue Jackets broadcasters Jeff Rimer and Bill Davidge (your FOX Sports Ohio television team) will be among the live analysts – Rimer beaming in on the big screen from Pittsburgh, Davidge at Nationwide. (Click here for the official Blue Jackets information on the event.) The CBJ Draft Party is free and open to the public.
If the event is anything like prior Draft Parties, it’s a good time for draftniks and families alike – I’ve especially enjoyed meeting a few of the players and getting autographs for the youngsters in my extended family (I also got a Steve Mason autograph on my 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs ball cap!), not to mention tours of the locker room and photos in the penalty box (“two minutes, by yourself…and you feel shame, you know…”). Most everything outside of refreshments and merchandise is free. Long story short, the team does a terrific job with their draft parties. Plus you get a look at which seats are still available to buy ticket packages!
FOR THE TV FANS
NBC Sports Network will be broadcasting the first round of the draft. The NHL Network will cover rounds 2-7. (Hat tip to hockey media guru Steve Lepore for the assist on this info.)
THE BLUE JACKETS AND THE DRAFT
Here is the list of Columbus Blue Jackets draft picks in the 2012 draft as of the date that this post was published. It would surprise nobody to see the Blue Jackets swap players and/or picks before and during the draft, but this is where they stand right now (per Wikipedia):
- 1st round, 2nd overall
- 2nd round, 31st overall
- 2nd round, 45th overall
- 3rd round, 62nd overall
- 4th round, 95th overall
- 4th round, 117th overall
- 6th round, 152nd overall
- 7th round, 182nd overall
Lastly, the wild card for the Blue Jackets’ draft: As a result of the Jeff Carter trade prior to the trade deadline, the Blue Jackets also have the right to claim the Los Angeles Kings’ first round pick (currently either 29th or 30th overall, depending on how the Kings do in the Stanley Cup Finals). They have to decide whether or not to claim the pick as late as two picks prior to the Kings’ eventual slot. If they do not exercise the claim this season, the Blue Jackets will have the Kings’ first round pick in 2013.
There’s plenty to consider…especially with those first few picks. Selecting the right kid should result in a meaningful contributor in 2012-13. We’ll take a look at a few of the most likely top picks over the days ahead.