The Columbus Blue Jackets almost pulled off the impossible during the 2013 season, overcoming an incredibly poor start to make a run for a playoff spot that didn’t fall out of their reach until the final night of the season. They battled through injuries and found ways to win or take a point from more than a handful of close games, as they continued to shock the league. Many young players had a chance to contribute to this incredible run, especially on defense. Fedor Tyutin was the only veteran blueliner to stay healthy for the entire season, as the door was opened for rookies like Dalton Prout to get a shot.
Prout would end up playing 28 games for the Blue Jackets this season, and performed admirably. He’s not ever going to put up a ton of points, but has great size and plays a strong physical game. He finished the season as the Blue Jackets’ leader in plus/minus, with a plus-15 mark that’s pretty impressive considering how close most of the Blue Jackets’ games are this season. A former sixth round draft pick in 2010, Prout delivered more than expected and could have a shot at cracking Columbus’ lineup to start the 2013-14 season. Prout managed to score his first goal and finish the season with seven points, which at this point is just an added bonus.
As the Blue Jackets look to take that next step forward next season, they would be wise to give Prout a shot at more time. Space may be limited with the addition of 2012 second overall pick Ryan Murray (assuming he’s ready to go), but Prout now has a half season’s experience and even some top-pair time with Jack Johnson under his belt. He earns a solid “B” for his performance in the 2013 season.