Columbus Blue Jackets top prospect David Jiricek is showing he has the makings to be special

The Columbus Blue Jackets snake-bit with injuries and a melancholy fan base whose expectations have been tempered by a rebuild that looks like it will take some time are due for some good news. Enter Blue Jackets top prospect David Jiricek, who has been as advertised and then some. Drafted sixth overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Level Draft, Jiricek is dominating the AHL and at the World Junior’s, leaving the Blue Jackets and the fan base salivating for what is coming.

After being one of the last cuts in the Columbus Blue Jackets training camp, defenseman, David Jiricek was assigned to the Cleveland Monsters (AHL.) At just 19 years old (last month), playing in North America for the first time, Jiricek has been a point-per-game player in Cleveland. Jiricek is getting heavy minutes on the Monsters top pairing.

This is an incredible stroke of luck for a Columbus team that could use some. Jiricek has not only outperformed fellow draftee Simon Nemec (New Jersey Devils), but it also looks like Jiricek is out-developing Nemec. Jiricek has been outstanding at both ends of the ice.

Back to a point per game for a moment. This is not something that any 19-year-old defenseman does, making this noteworthy. Jiricek is crushing the highest posted PNHLe (used to project a players point potential at the NHL level) over the past two decades at 19.

While David Jiricek is not a big goal scorer, he excels in all other areas. Defense, transition, passes, and the list goes on. There is a growing thought that Jiricek is NHL ready now. However, in a bad season for the Blue Jackets (on pace for 53 points), the organization should leave Jiricek in Cleveland.

It is becoming more and more clear that not only will Jiricek be in Columbus next season, but he will make an impact on a roster that needs more impactful blue-liners.

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