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Blue Jacket's GM was set on taking Dubois over Puljujärvi at No. 3

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Plain and simple: Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen believed that Pierre-Luc Dubois was the best player available at No. 3.

Most mock drafts heading into Friday’s Round 1 had the Blue Jackets taking Jesse Puljujärvi, right after Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine. But Kekalainen surprised everyone inside First Niagara Center with the pick.

So is there something he knows that we don’t?

“Well, there might be," he said. "But it’s not about negative things, it’s about his building our list and believing in our order of preference. Pierre-Luc Dubois was No. 3 on our list."

Heading into Friday there was speculation that the Blue Jackets would look to move the pick. Kekalainen told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he would have been fine trading out of the three spot to move down if the right offer came along. It didn’t, and Dubois heard his name called by head of amateur scouting Ville Siren.

In the end, like most teams in the first round, Kekalainen wasn’t going to use the third overall pick to fill an organizational need. It was best player available the entire way.

“It’s harder to find centermen and defensemen, that’s for sure, and we always take the best player available in our opinion," he said, "so I don’t think we would have taken a center just to get a center if we had a winger ahead of him. He was No. 3 and that’s why we picked him and that’s why we didn’t want to take any chance of moving down unless we knew for sure we were going to get him.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!



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