Blue Jackets offer advice for newly drafted players

The Blue Jackets selected seven players to join the organization at last weekend's NHL Draft. For players already in the NHL, the memories of getting drafted are special.

Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu did get picked in the NHL Draft but made his way to the highest level through hard work.

Russell LaBounty / USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jackets selected seven players to join the organization at last weekend's NHL Draft. For players already in the NHL, the memories of getting drafted are special.

"When I got drafted I remember exactly where I was when my agent called me and told me," said Jackets defensemen Dalton Prout. "It's something you never forget."

Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney was fishing when he was drafted and found out he'd been selected about three days after the fact.

"It was a pretty unique experience," McElhinney said. "For these kids selected, I can only imagine the excitement and the nervousness they had."

Every drafted player has a goal of moving on to play in the NHL and current Jackets know that's attainable, but they also know getting drafted is only the first step.

"The draft is just an opportunity to play in the NHL," Prout said. "It is an accomplishment but (newly drafted players) need to realize there's lots and lots and lots of work to be done from this day forward."

Jackets forward Mark Letestu hopes every new player takes advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as they can from Jackets coaches and staff.

"The organization has the players' best interest at hand, they want these guys to be Blue Jackets - they want them to succeed," Letestu said. "I'd tell these guys for everything and for everybody that gives advice -- listen. Try what they say and add it to your game -- it will only help you."

One of the first opportunities to work toward playing in the NHL will be the upcoming Blue Jackets development camp that begins next week. The seven newly drafted players will be among the attendees along with two undrafted players who received invites to the camp.

Letestu, who also went undrafted, believes the path to the NHL is different for everyone and that all of the invitees should continue to work toward their goal.

"I knew I wasn't getting picked and maybe at that time I didn't think I could play in the NHL," Letestu said. "But I just took it a step at time, tried to get better at every level and eventually got a few breaks. Keep working and the breaks will come."

For all the young players, part of making the NHL team in Columbus is having what it takes to play the game, but also having what it takes to be a Blue Jacket.

"We're a team that anyone should be proud to be a part of and I'm sure anyone that gets that chance will be," Prout said. "The Jackets are a team that's headed in the right direction and it's a team of character."

McElhinney has very specific requirements for players looking to make the team as well.

"I think just the last couple years as the Jackets we've made some really big strides," McElhinney said. "This is a hard working team. You have to have honest guys that are going to put the work in and show up on a night to night basis."

The Blue Jackets development camp will be held July 7 -- 10 at the Ohio Health Ice Haus. For more information on the on-ice schedule and list of invited players click here: bit.ly/cbjdevcamp2014.