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Blues’ 2007 Entry Draft Review, Part 1

"Tomorrow's Blues" Online by Brian Weidler

The St. Louis Blues have been making it a habit to make team and league history at the NHL Entry Draft in recent years. Last year, they had the first overall pick in the Draft for the first time in team history, and used it to select the first player ever in that position who chose to forego immediate entry into the NHL in favor of spending a year in college. This year, the Blues again chalked up a first by drafting the first Danish-born player ever chosen in the first round.  After a trade with San Jose, which saw the Blues swap their first pick at ninth overall for the Sharks' picks at 13th and 44th in this year's draft, plus a second-rounder next year, the Blues still managed to get their man by choosing center Lars Eller (6'01, 196 lbs, shoots left) of the Frolunda Indians junior club of Sweden.

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Eller Season Progression
Frolunda Jr (SWE)

Regular Season ..... GP G. A. Pts +/- PIM PP SH FG GW IG
==================== == == == === === === == == == == ==
September Totals ... .0 .0 .0 ..0 ..0 ... .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
October Totals ..... 11 .5 10 .15 ..8 .12 .3 .0 .0 .0 .0
November Totals .... 11 .5 .9 .14 ..7 .12 .2 .1 .0 .1 .0
December Totals .... .5 .3 .4 ..7 ..4 ..4 .1 .0 .0 .0 .0
January Totals ..... .9 .4 10 .14 ..5 .26 .1 .0 .0 .2 .0
February Totals .... .5 .1 .4 ..5 - 2 ..4 .1 .0 .0 .1 .0
March Totals ....... .0 .0 .0 ..0 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0

YtD Totals (Sep) ... .0 .0 .0 ..0 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
YtD Totals (Oct) ... .0 .0 .0 ..0 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
YtD Totals (Nov) ... 22 10 19 .29 .15 .24 .5 .1 .0 .1 .0
YtD Totals (Dec) ... 25 13 23 .36 .19 .28 .6 .1 .0 .1 .0
YtD Totals (Jan) ... 34 17 33 .50 .24 .54 .7 .1 .0 .3 .0
YtD Totals (Feb) ... 39 18 37 .55 .22 .58 .8 .1 .0 .4 .0
YtD Totals (Mar) ... 39 18 37 .55 .22 .58 .8 .1 .0 .4 .0

Other .............. GP G. A. Pts +/- PIM PP SH FG GW IG
==================== == == == === === === == == == == ==
Tm DEN U20 D1 GpA .. .5 .2 .5 ..7 ..6 .16 .1 .0 .0 .0 .1
Tm DEN U18 D1 GpB .. .5 .3 .7 .10 ..5 ..6 .1 .1 .0 .1 .0

On the plus side, Eller is an excellent skater and stickhandler with a top-notch passing game and elite hockey sense. He was a dominant player in the Swedish junior league this year with Frolunda, and led Team Denmark in scoring at both the U20 and U18 tournaments. His Danish birthplace (Rodovre) and origins, however, led some scouts to shy away from him, as players from non-traditional hockey powers are often considered too "high-risk" for early first-round picks.

Later in the first round, John Davidson and Larry Pleau were at it again, this time trading up from the 24th pick to the 18th pick to select solid physical defenseman Ian Cole (6'01, 211, shoots left) from the US National Development Team Program U-18 squad.

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Cole Season Progression
USNTDP U-18

Regular Season ..... GP G. A. Pts +/- PIM PP SH FG GW IG
==================== == == == === === === == == == == ==
September Totals ... .0 .0 .0 ..0 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
October Totals ..... .0 .0 .0 ..0 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
November Totals .... .0 .0 .0 ..0 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
December Totals .... 30 .2 10 .12 ..0 .32 .2 .0 .0 .0 .0
January Totals ..... .6 .0 .2 ..2 ..0 ..8 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
February Totals .... .6 .1 .2 ..3 ..0 ..8 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
March Totals ....... .7 .1 .2 ..3 ..0 ..9 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0

YtD Totals (Sep) ... .0 .0 .0 ..0 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
YtD Totals (Oct) ... .0 .0 .0 ..0 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
YtD Totals (Nov) ... .0 .0 .0 ..0 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
YtD Totals (Dec) ... 30 .2 10 .12 ..0 .32 .2 .0 .0 .0 .0
YtD Totals (Jan) ... 36 .2 12 .14 ..0 .40 .2 .0 .0 .0 .0
YtD Totals (Feb) ... 42 .3 14 .17 ..0 .48 .2 .0 .0 .0 .0
YtD Totals (Mar) ... 49 .4 16 .20 ..0 .57 .2 .0 .0 .0 .0

Other .............. GP G. A. Pts +/- PIM PP SH FG GW IG
==================== == == == === === === == == == == ==
Tm USA U18 ......... .7 .4 .1 ..5 ..4 ..6 .1 .0 .0 .0 .0

Cole's greatest strength is his skating, and that area of strength allows him to play an active, involved, offensive style from the blueline. He likes to jump into the play as it develops, and is a patient and accurate passer with the puck. He does not neglect his defensive responsibilities, either, hustling back into the play when the rush goes the other way. Cole plays with no fear, and while not physically intimidating at this stage, he can throw a very solid check.

Cole did not start the 2006-07 season particularly well, and was not ranked highly by Central Scouting (81st North America in the final rankings), but a strong performance at the U18 World Juniors helped raise his visibility. The Ann Arbor, MI native will play next season for Dave Poulin at Notre Dame, and is expected to be a strong contributor right away as a freshman at a school that is building a powershouse in the CCHA.

The last of the Blues' first-round selections, at 26th overall, was scoring whiz David Perron (5'11.5, 180, LW, shoots right), a Sherbrooke, PQ native skating for the lone US representative in the QMJHL, the Lewiston MAINEiacs.

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Perron Season Progression
Lewiston (QMJHL)

Regular Season ..... GP G. A. Pts +/- PIM PP SH FG GW IG
==================== == == == === === === == == == == ==
September Totals ... .6 .4 .2 ..6 ..4 ..8 .1 .0 .0 .0 .0
October Totals ..... 12 .8 .6 .16 ..2 ..6 .4 .0 .0 .1 .0
November Totals .... 10 .6 .8 .14 ..6 .12 .2 .0 .0 .2 .0
December Totals .... 11 .5 .7 .12 ..5 ..6 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
January Totals ..... 12 .3 .7 .10 ..8 .23 .0 .0 .0 .1 .0
February Totals .... 10 .7 .5 .12 ..6 .10 .0 .0 .0 .1 .0
March Totals ....... .9 .6 .9 .15 ..6 .10 .3 .0 .0 .2 .0

YtD Totals (Sep) ... .6 .4 .2 ..6 ..4 ..8 .1 .0 .0 .0 .0
YtD Totals (Oct) ... 18 12 .8 .20 ..6 .14 .5 .0 .0 .1 .0
YtD Totals (Nov) ... 28 18 16 .34 .12 .26 .7 .0 .0 .3 .0
YtD Totals (Dec) ... 39 23 23 .46 .17 .32 .7 .0 .0 .3 .0
YtD Totals (Jan) ... 51 26 30 .56 .25 .55 .7 .0 .0 .4 .0
YtD Totals (Feb) ... 61 33 35 .68 .31 .65 .7 .0 .0 .5 .0
YtD Totals (Mar) ... 70 39 44 .83 .37 .75 10 .0 .0 .7 .0

Playoffs ........... GP G. A. Pts +/- PIM PP SH FG GW IG
==================== == == == === === === == == == == ==
March Totals ....... .4 .5 .1 ..6 ..2 ..4 .3 .0 .0 .1 .0
April Totals ....... .9 .5 12 .17 ..7 .10 .3 .0 .0 .2 .0
May Totals ......... .4 .2 .3 ..5 - 3 ..8 .1 .0 .0 .1 .0

YtD Totals (Mar) ... .4 .5 .1 ..6 ..2 ..4 .3 .0 .0 .1 .0
YtD Totals (Apr) ... 13 10 13 .23 ..9 .14 .6 .0 .0 .3 .0
YtD Totals (May) ... 17 12 16 .28 ..6 .22 .7 .0 .0 .4 .0

Other .............. GP G. A. Pts +/- PIM PP SH FG GW IG
==================== == == == === === === == == == == ==
Top Prospects Gm ... .1 .0 .1 ..1 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
Memorial Cup 2007 .. .4 .1 .2 ..3 ..0 ..0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0

Perron, as one might imagine from a cursory glance of his numbers, is an offense-minded player who is especially useful on the power play. He is a smooth skater, but does not possess elite speed; he does, however, have exceptional hockey sense, and an arsenal of moves and skills that can dictate the pace of the game. He plays the point on Lewiston's power play, and his quick release and hard, accurate shot make him valuable in that role.

His only-average speed, a tendency to over-handle the puck on occasion, and an inability to avoid demonstrating frustration on the ice when a move or a play doesn't go his way, are the areas of his game that still require attention, but these are all areas that are correctable with proper coaching and willingness on the player's part to apply himself.

The Blues' other 2007 Entry Draft selections were as follows:

Rd Ovr Player Name ...... League. Team ....... Ht . Wt.
== === ================== ======= ============ ==== ===
.2 .39 HJALMARSSON, SIMON SWE-JR. FROLUNDA JR. 5'11 161
.2 .44 PALUSHAJ, AARON .. USHL .. DES MOINES . 5'11 187
.3 .85 SONNE, BRETT ..... WHL ... CALGARY .... 5'11 200
.4 .96 FAIRCHILD, CADE .. USDP .. USA U-18 ... 5'10 186
.4 100 ERSTAD, TRAVIS ... HIGH-WI STEVENS PT . 6'03 182
.6 160 PELUSO, ANTHONY .. OHL ... ERIE ....... 6'03 222
.7 190 NILL, TREVOR ..... MWEHL . COMPUWARE .. 6'03 190

Further details on these players coming up in the next online edition of "Tomorrow's Blues." Until then, remember: "If we do not prepare for ourselves the role of the hammer, there will be nothing left but that of the anvil." Auf wiedersehen...