"I personally believe in building a strong defense because that's where you also start your offense, when you have defensemen who can move the puck up quickly and have a good transition game, who understand the game and have good vision and puck movement skills. That's when you build strong offensive teams as well. If you have a situation where you have two players that you compare to each other and they're very close, I'd say that I would lean towards taking the defenseman if those guys are pretty much on the same level."
-- Jarmo Kekalainen on "The Bernie Miklasz Show," 101.1 FM ESPN radio, May 27
Kekalainen clung tightly to that philosophy this weekend, selecting three defensemen out of the six total picks the Blues made in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
After the break, learn everything you ever wanted to know about the six players drafted by the Blues on Friday and Saturday in Montreal.
ST. LOUIS BLUES 2009 NHL ENTRY DRAFT SELECTIONS
|1||17||RUNDBLAD, David||D||R||6-02||189||10-08-90||Lycksele, Sweden||Skellefteå AIK (SEL)||45||0||10||10||+ 3||8||0||0||0|
|2||48||PONICH, Brett||D||L||6-07||205||02-22-91||Beaumont, AB||Portland (WHL)||71||1||17||18||-19||117||0||0||0|
|3||78||ANDRONOV, Sergei||LW||L||6-02||189||07-19-89||Moscow, Russia||Lada Togliatti (KHL)||47||8||5||13||+ 1||22||3||0||2|
|4||108||SHATTOCK, Tyler||RW||R||6-03||190||02-02-90||Salmon Arm, BC||Kamloops (WHL)||68||30||39||69||- 4||82||19||2||5|
|6||168||SHIELDS, David||D||R||6-03||216||03-28-91||Rochester, NY||Erie (OHL)||61||1||16||17||+24||28||0||0||0|
|7||202||TARDY, Max||C||L||5-11||170||10-27-90||Duluth, MN||Duluth East (HS-MN)||25||28||20||48||+ 2||20||6||3||4|
The scouting reports below are composited from five major sources -- NHL.com, International Scouting Services' monthly "Future Stars" reports, the "McKeens Hockey Prospects" website, the "Russian Prospects.com" website, and the "Elite Prospects" website.
Rundblad Scouting Report -- A smooth-skating defenseman ... played well during the SEL playoffs, named best d-man at the U19 4 Nations tournament in Russia ... loves to jump up in the play and moves well all over the ice ... has good vision and is able to make the first pass ... loves to push the puck, puts passes on his teammates' tape with authority ... has the patience to hold onto the puck that extra split second to give teammates time to shake free ... has good size and strength, but often can be passive in defensive coverage, especially around his net where he needs to play the body more ... his game has gotten better as the year has progressed.
NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING FINAL RANKING: 6 Europe
Ponich Scouting Report -- Still needs to add some meat to his 6-foot-7, 205-pound frame ... fairly heavy slap shot when he gets all of it ... does not have leite-level stickhandling skills, but has good footwork for a player his size ... needs to develop his passing skills; outlet passes are not always on the mark, which puts the intended target in a poor position to do much with the pass ... does have the ability to carry the puck up the ice, and the mobility to elude checkers ... will pinch in from the point ... works hard along the boards for loose pucks ... size give him a long wingspan, which helps him create turnovers ... a regular on the penalty kill.
NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING FINAL RANKING: 151 North America
Andronov Scouting Report -- Played on both the top line and top power play unit for Team Russia at the U-20 World Juniors ... a gifted player with very nice puck distribution skills and very good hockey sense ... has great hands and is able to weave around defenders to create space ... mot a big hitter, but he doesn't shy from contact ... has seen his draft stock rise in the second half of the season ... speed, technique and game without the puck make him a solid prospect, and experience gained in the last two seasons make him a more NHL-ready prospect ... Ranked fifth-best prospect in Russia for the 2009 Entry Draft by "Russian Prospects.com."
NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING FINAL RANKING: 24 Europe
Shattock Scouting Report -- Special teams player who contributes on both PP and PK ... long reach makes him a formidable defender on the PK, as it allows him to cut off passing lanes and pressure the puckhandler ... defensive tenacity during even strength shifts leaves a lot to be desired ... appears to be more aggressive in the attacking zone, where he utilizes his 6-03, 190-pound frame on the forecheck and pursues the puck ... biggest assets are his vision and passing skills ... sees the ice well and shows the ability to make a quality wing-to-wing pass in transition ... he is most potent around the goal, where he can be precise in setting up teammates.
NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING FINAL RANKING: Not Ranked
Shields Scouting Report -- Has made tremendous steps in defending but still struggles occasionally at this level (major junior) ... he has size and a maturing offensive game ... is becoming more daring with the puck, as he will make routine rushes up the ice, often finding himself as far below as the back of the opposition's net ... breakouts need to be more calculated, as they often leave his team shorthanded coming back ... an OK skater, his size and in particular his long stride swallow up the ice ... has the appearance of a laboring skater, but his speed and mobility rarely see him get beat in this league .. his game is very raw at this point.
NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING FINAL RANKING: Not Ranked
Tardy Scouting Report -- Minnesota-Duluth recruit and 2009 Minnesota "Mr. Hockey" finalist ... an intelligent center that is involved and influential around the puck every shift ... has quick feet and above-average speed, and sees the ice well enough to weave past opponents while carrying the puck ... will only become faster on the puck with added leg strength ... Tardy isn't scared of traffic, but still needs to improve on his balance and enhance his muscularity; not very big, and often ends up on his back in the trenches ... patient and poised with the puck, Tardy is a cerebral player who hangs back and surveys his options before striking ... can be slippery with lateral moves.
NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING FINAL RANKING: 144 North America
Grade the Blues' 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
A: Jarmo and Co. came through with flying colors once again. (42 votes)
B: Some of the picks are excellent, some... meh. (84 votes)
C: Average; not what we expected from the best scouts in the NHL. (37 votes)
D: Below average; definitely not what we were looking for. (7 votes)
F: Was im Hoelle denkst du, Herr Kekalainen? (3 votes)
173 total votes