Columbus Signs Denton Mateychuk

The Columbus Blue Jackets continue their busy week, getting 12th overall pick Denton Mateychuk signed to an entry-level deal.

Jackets Sign Mateychuk

Mateychuk roared up the draft prospect rankings all year, finally getting picked at 12 – a touch later than we had him. The speedy, left-side defenceman won’t be joining the team this coming season, but he’s giving fans lots to look forward to. The escalating performance bonuses line up with his likelihood of making the NHL and are nothing to fear. He joins fellow 2022 draft pick David Jiricek, selected just six spots ahead of him.

While he’s not tiny, Mateychuk at his best isn’t a physical player. He simply refuses to let opponents have the puck. Which, when you think about it, is a pretty good defence. If you can get back to your end and grab the puck before the attackers do? Suddenly there are no attackers. In addition to his excellent skating, here’s Ben Kerr’s opinion of his offence:

Mateychuk is also able to attack the defence and find openings in the zone. His passing skill is high-end as well. He can start the rush with a good first pass in his own zone or make a breakaway pass to a teammate. Mateychuk is also an excellent power-play quarterback. He controls the puck in the zone and uses his vision and passing skills to set up scoring chances for teammates.

This year, at least, the Columbus Blue Jackets are having an excellent offseason.

What This Means

Denton Mateychuk is now part of an extremely exciting defence in Columbus. Led by veteran Zachery Werensky, the team now has FIVE defencemen who were picked in the top 15 of their respective drafts. All of them are 24 years old or younger, including Adam Boqvist and Jake Bean. Even if only a couple reaches their full potential, the blue line is going to be a Blue Jacket strength for years to come.

There may be some questions about fitting in all of this skill under the salary cap in the future. It’s well worth remembering that the cap will be going up soon – and by a lot more than $1 million. Possibly just as Mateychuk enters the NHL, never mind needing his second contract. Enjoy, Columbus fans!