The Michigan Wolverines continue to put the “Blue” in Columbus Blue Jackets, with two more former players going to the Ohio-based team with the close of the draft. Teammates Adam Fantilli and Gavin Brindley were both taken by the organization at the 3rd and 34th pick, respectively.
Fantilli was projected to go as the second pick to Anaheim, who ultimately chose to go with Leo Carlsson, another strong forward similar to Fantilli, which was an early shock going into the remainder of the draft. This choice worked out in both the club and players’ best interest, as Fantilli has expressed this was one of his first choices in organizations as well as feeling like it’s closer to home.
Not only did Columbus get the chance to select the Hobey Baker Winner, but they also took his teammate, Gavin Brindley. The 5’9″ forward set a Big 10 record for the most assists in a single tournament and took home the bronze medal at the 2023 World Junior Championships.
Going into the league with chemistry on and off ice already established could be what the club needs in this rebuilding era. Columbus went 25-28-9 last season, finishing in last place in the Metropolitan Division and the worst record in the Eastern Conference. The pair will also be joining three other alumni, Kent Johnson, Zach Werenski, and Nick Blankenburg, on the Columbus roster.
With the addition of Fantilli and Brindley, they are giving New Jersey a run for their money by drafting Michigan Players, as the Devils have Ethan Edwards, Seamus Casey, and Luke Hughes, who were part of Team 101 during the 2022-2023 season.