The Columbus Blue Jackets had a good 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and one of those choices was Powell, Ohio-native Carson Meyer. Before heading to the USHL, and eventually the University of Miami (OH), he was pulling on Blue Jackets sweater for his youth hockey. A born-and-raised Blue Jackets fan playing his college hockey down the road is a player any Fifth Liner can get behind.
One-on-One With Columbus Blue Jackets Carson Meyer
Meyer is an Ohio born-and-raised hockey player, plying his trade with the Miami RedHawks currently in the NCAA. Before last season, his freshman year, he played in the USHL for a season with the Tri-City Storm. And before all of that, Meyer was playing his U18, U16, and Bantam Major AAA with the Ohio Blue Jackets program.
Nic Hendrickson: What’s it like to be drafted by your hometown team?
Carson Meyer: It’s incredible. It’s one of the best, if not the best, moments of my life. The reason I really got into hockey was because of the Blue Jackets coming to town here in 2000. I watched them, I always went to every game, and I’ve been a fan of them for as long as I can remember.
First off, getting drafted is an unbelievable feeling knowing that all my hard work is being recognized, but then it being to the hometown Blue Jackets is just the cherry on top of everything.
NH: Does being drafted by the Blue Jackets put added pressure on developing, or is it a calming thought for you?
CM: You know, I really haven’t thought about is pressure. I mean, I suppose maybe there’s a little bit, but there’s going to be pressure with any team you would be drafted by. I try not to read into things too much or look too far ahead, I just try and focus on what can make me better today and tomorrow. That’s all I really think about. If you start thinking too far ahead, you can get in your own head.
NH: Seeing as this is the third draft you were eligible for, what do you think is the difference between this year and the last two [in terms of what the scouts saw]?
CM: Well my first year I was still playing AAA hockey, I wasn’t even in Juniors or anything. I had a really good season in AAA, but it doesn’t really prove anything playing AAA at that age. You’ve got to at least be in Juniors.
As for two years ago, in the USHL, I had a pretty good season. I scored a lot of goals, but maybe I just didn’t do enough to get drafted. Maybe there was always something holding me back? Whether it was my skating, my size, or my aggressiveness. I thought I might get drafted the second time around, but it didn’t happen.
I did get invited to the Jackets development camp that year, so I knew I was on some teams radars. This past year in college I had a really good freshman year and put up some good numbers. I got a lot of attention, and I talked to ten teams before this years draft when I hadn’t talked to any the years before. That gave me the feeling that I was going to get drafted.
NH: How was the draft day experience? Did you sit by the TV and watch, or did you stay away from it all until you were called?
CM: Well the first two drafts I sat by the TV and watched all day. It was a nerve wracking experience and really disappointing when I didn’t get picked. This year I told myself I wasn’t going to do that, but I still sat by the TV all day and watched. I tried to leave and go get some food, but I ended up getting it go and coming right back. I was just drawn to it, I couldn’t stop watching it.
NH: What players did you look up to growing up, both on Columbus and otherwise? Is there any one of them that you try to model your game after?
CM: It was one in the same for me. I always looked up to Rick Nash. He was the man in Columbus while he was here, and I think every little kid [from here] had a Nash jersey growing up. He was a fan favorite and he was always my favorite growing up. And Jody Shelley, just because I liked watching fights when I was a kid.
I try to model my game after someone like Claude Giroux or Artemi Panarin. A dynamic player who could use their speed and has good scoring abilities, and is kind of undersized. I’m also a huge Cam Atkinson fan.
NH: What are your expectations for yourself with Miami next season?
CM: I expect to have a big role with the team. Last year I had a pretty big role and I got a lot of opportunities from the coaching staff, and I was grateful for that. And this year I expect my role and my opportunities to be even bigger than my first season, and I hope to be more of a leader this season. Having a year of college experience under my belt, and the confidence of being drafted, I expect to have a big season here.
NH: What are your expectations for the team [Miami RedHawks]?
CM: Yeah, I think we’re going to be a real good team this year.
NH: What would you say is your biggest strength as a player?
CM: I would say either my hockey IQ or my ability to finish. My scoring ability and hockey sense are definitely my two strengths.
NH: What would you say is your biggest weakness? What do you think you need to work on most to become and NHL level player?
CM: For one, I need to get my legs stronger. I need to be stronger on my skates. I also need to work on my skating. Skating is such a huge thing in the NHL today, the game has gotten so fast. Skating ability can make or break a player’s career. Even the best skaters need to work on their skating.
NH: What feedback has the Blue Jackets coaching staff given you? Anything specific they want you to work on?
CM: Honestly, all they’ve really said was to work on the skating a bit. I have a big window to make the jump to professional hockey. I still have three more years in college, if I choose to stay all four years. They just said to work on skating. They also said that you’re drafted, that’s great, but this is when the real work begins, it’s what you do now. They’ve shown they believe in me enough to spend a draft pick on me, and now I have to put the work in to get better and make that jump to pro hockey.
The Future for Carson Meyer
Carson will be heading into his sophomore season with the Miami RedHawks. The RedHawks start their season on Friday, October 6th against Providence in Oxford, Ohio. They follow that up the following day with another game against Providence.