Being on the verge of becoming a first round draft pick, you'd think they'd have bigger smiles. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
From 1990-95, the Blues were without a first round pick. In 1994 the Blues didn't even have a second round pick. They went without first rounders in 2001 and 2002. During the 1990s, the Blues built mostly through trades and daring free agent signings that helped in contributing some of those first round picks. The few prospects who made it through the system (Rod Brind`Amour, Curtis Joseph, Jim Campbell) were appreciated and gained fan popularity as the few, the proud, the homegrown Blues player.
Now? There are nine players who were on the roster this past season who were drafted by the Blues. For a minute, let's think about two decisions that have shaped both the Blues and the previous two Stanley Cup champions.
In the 2006 draft, the Blues selected Erik Johnson first overall. He was the best defenseman and we know that the Blues have a propensity to value defenders higher in the draft than forwards. But say they decided that Jonathan Toews was the best forward and would be a better prospect than Johnson (far fetched and not a realistic possibility at the time). The Penguins would most likely have selected Johnson and Jordan Staal would have fallen to the Blackhawks at No. 3. I'm not saying that the fortunes of any of the three teams would have been different the last two years, but it's an interesting daydream.
Then there's the 2007 draft. It was reported that the Blues approached the Blackhawks with a trade offer of their three first round picks for the No. 1 overall selection. They liked Patrick Kane that much and thought the Hawks might value quantity over quality. They didn't bite and Kane became a Hawk. After you stop thinking about how different the Blues and Hawks would look with Kane trading cities, think about who the Blues got in that first round: David Perron, Ian Cole and Lars Eller. And if the Blues don't have a prospect like Eller who everyone admits is NHL ready, would the Canadiens have pulled off the trade of Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis?
So while it's easy to write off the draft as a bunch of 18 year olds getting picked with many of them never panning out, a few key decisions have the ramification of remodeling multiple franchises. You never know.
With that, let's launch the wild conjecture, the 20-second analysis, the daydreaming that the player called to the stage for St. Louis will be called to the ice for St. Louis some time in the next few seasons.
This is your 2010 NHL Draft GDT. Pretend it's the regular season for one night in June.