As draft nears, Jackets' Jenner reflects on what it takes to reach NHL

For teams, the NHL Draft is the target of front offices and scouting resources, however, for the Columbus Blue Jackets, forward Boone Jenner will also be paying attention.

Youthful forward Boone Jenner has become a difference maker for the Blue Jackets.  

Russell LaBounty / USA TODAY Sports

Thirty NHL teams will look to bolster their organizations this weekend by selecting prospects in the 2014 draft that will be held this Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia. For teams, this event is the target of front offices and scouting resources, however, for the Columbus Blue Jackets, forward Boone Jenner will also be paying attention.

"I still know a lot of guys both from the Blue Jackets prospect camp and from my time playing in Oshawa (with the OHL Oshawa Generals)," Jenner said. "It's cool to see them do well and get better each year. I have no doubt a lot of the guys will make it to the NHL."

Jenner should know. He was drafted by the Blue Jackets in 2011. He spent the following two years playing for the Generals and each year spent a few games with Jackets AHL team in Springfield. In 2013, he made the Blue Jackets roster.

In his first NHL season, Jenner went 16-13-29 in 72 regular season games and 3-2-5 in six playoff games. He drew 31 penalties while only taking 20 giving him a team leading +11 in penalties drawn.

"Looking back there were certainly things to be proud of," Jenner said. "But I want to keep getting better and improving. My goal is to expect more of myself each game."

That kind of performance draws attention. When Jenner made an appearance at the Memorial Cup, the Canadian Hockey League championship tournament, players including Jackets prospect Josh Anderson mentioned that they wanted to follow in his footsteps but Jenner knows that each player's journey to the big leagues will be unique.

"Everyone wants to make the NHL but everyone takes a different path," Jenner said. "A lot of the guys I know what to make it -- they have a tremendous amount of skill. it's a matter of working as hard as they can."

Jenner will be in Columbus through the summer and is looking forward to meeting the new players the Jackets select in the draft. It is anticipated that many, if not all, drafted players will participate in the Jackets development camp July 7-10.

"I hope the guys see it as a good learning experience," Jenner said. "For your first one, you just have to be a sponge and take everything in. You want to learn as much as you can about professional hockey."

As Jenner has proven, being drafted in an honor but after that it's time to set goals.

"Obviously you've got to congratulate yourself, being drafted in the NHL is a huge stepping stone, but that's all it is," Jenner said. "It takes a lot more to step through that door."

Full and partial season tickets for the Blue Jackets' 2014-15 season are currently available for purchase. For more information you can call (800) NHL-COLS or visit BlueJackets.com.

Follow Alison on Twitter at @AlisonL