July 20th, 2024

Lindstrom drafted 4th by Blue Jackets

By JAMES TUBB on June 29, 2024.

PHOTO COURTESY COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS Medicine Hat Tigers forward Cayden Lindstrom was drafted fourth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of Friday's NHL Entry Draft hosted in Las Vegas.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

Cayden Lindstrom did not have to wait long to hear his name called and NHL dream come true Friday.

The Medicine Hat Tigers forward was selected fourth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets, the first Western Hockey League player drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, hosted in Las Vegas, Nev.

The 18-year-old forward was the top ranked Canadian Hockey League prospect heading into the draft and was the third ranked North American Skater by the NHL Central Scouting.

He spoke with media in Vegas after the selection and says he was excited to hear his name.

“All my meetings went well with them, they are all really good people,” Lindstrom said. “I train with some guys on the Blue Jackets and it seems like they have a lot of things happening. I’m so happy to be a Columbus Blue Jacket.”

Lindstrom said he’ll remember the atmosphere in Vegas and at the Sphere.

“It’s a thing you remember for the rest of your life, being here I’m just taking it all in, because the draft only happens once and I’m so grateful and happy to be here with my family and enjoy it with them,” Lindstrom said.

The 18-year-old forward is the first Tigers’ player selected in the first round since forward Hunter Shinkaruk was taken 24th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 2013. He’s the highest drafted Tiger since defenceman Cam Barker was selected third overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2004.

Former Tigers forward Cole Sillinger was drafted 12th overall by the Blue Jackets in 2021.

Lindstrom was asked about his thoughts on the Blue Jackets’ and the roster he will be joining, led by 2023 third overall pick Adam Fantilli.

“I see a lot, they have Fantilli, (Johnny) Gaudreau there now, I think there is a lot of skill there,” Lindstrom said. “I want to help them as much as I can. I love to win and I am sure everyone on that team does, too.”

Lindstrom said in his media availability he works out with Blue Jackets Kent Johnson and Jake Christiansen in the offseason, and the two had told him about the city.

“They told me it’s a pretty nice spot,” Lindstrom said. “It’s a nice city and a good city to play in. I’m pumped to check it out.”

Blue Jackets general manager Don Waddell spoke about Lindstrom on the Blue Jackets radio network and touted his abilities and why they drafted him.

“We have some really skilled players. When you can add a skilled player who brings some hardness to the equation, you do it,” Waddell said. “When he’s ready, he’s going to make our whole team bigger.”

Waddell spoke with Aaron Portzline, a Blue Jackets beat reporter with The Athletic, and said they had Lindstrom as their top-ranked player behind first overall pick Macklin Celebrini.

Lindstrom had 27 goals and 46 points in 36 games with the Tigers this season, missing the second half of the season due to injury. He played in four of the Tigers’ five playoff games, putting up a goal and an assist

The Medicine Hat Tigers are expected to have other players selected in the 2024 Draft with rounds two-through-seven getting underway Saturday at 9:30 MST.

Forward Andrew Basha was projected to be a late first round pick and will likely go early, forward Tomas Mrsic is expected to be selected somewhere in the middle rounds, and forwards Shane Smith, Hunter St. Martin and goaltender Ethan McCallum have all garnered interest from NHL clubs.

With files from The WHL, The Athletic

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