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Prospect Department Mock Draft Results

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By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department

Recently, your GTPD completed a Mock Draft at the Hockey's Future web site. We think we've gotten a pretty good haul of future prospects for the Blues organization in this mock, and present our results here for your perusal and comments.

One note: There's no 33rd-overall pick in this draft for the Blues, because we traded that pick, along with Jay McKee and Jay McClement, to the Ottawa Senators for dynamic young center Antoine Vermette. Vermette has averaged 21 goals per season over the last three years, is still a young 25 years of age, and has an affordable contract at just over $1 million per season. Our thinking is that he can combine with LW Lee Stempniak and rookie T.J. Oshie at RW to form a dangerous third line, and all three players on that line can take faceoffs if need be.

In the mock draft, as expected, Tampa Bay chose Steven Stamkos first overall. Los Angeles took D Zach Bogosian, and Atlanta followed with another defense pick, selecting Luke Schenn in something of a surprise move. Then, it was the Blues' turn...

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With the fourth pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues are pleased to select, from the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, defenseman Drew Doughty.

Drew Doughty.Doughty sweater.Doughty headshot

Defense, shoots right. 6'01", 219 lbs. Born December 8, 1989 in London, Ontario.

2007-08 CLUB/LEAGUE ... GP GL AS PTS +/- PIM PP SH FG GW
======================= == == == === === === == == == ==
GUELPH (OHL) .......... 58 13-37- 50 - 1 068 09 00 00 00

RANKINGS:

CENTRAL SCOUTING PRE ... 002 WHL
CENTRAL SCOUTING MID ... 002 N/A
CENTRAL SCOUTING FIN ... 003 N/A

INT'L SCOUT SVCS NOV ... 003
INT'L SCOUT SVCS JAN ... 003
INT'L SCOUT SVCS MAY ... 004

McKEENS PRELIMINARY .... 003
McKEENS MIDTERM ........ 003

SCOUTING REPORT:

PLUS:
-- Highly-developed offensive skills.
-- Can locate multiple options at top speed.
-- Creative and unpredictable; hard for opponents to get a read.
-- Strong, physical player with powerful, explosive skating stride.

MINUS:
-- Defensive game occasionally suffers in favor of offense.
-- Sometimes tries to do too much by himself.
-- Fitness level has been questioned.

GAME TIME PROJECTION:
-- First-pairing offensive defenseman; power play QB.

====================

With the 34th pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues are pleased to select, from the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, defenseman Jyri Niemi.

Jyri Niemi.Niemi sweater.Niemi headshot

Defense, shoots left. 6'02", 192 lbs. Born June 15, 1990 in Hameenkyro, Finland.

2007-08 CLUB/LEAGUE ... GP GL AS PTS +/- PIM PP SH FG GW
======================= == == == === === === == == == ==
SASKATOON (WHL) ....... 49 14-20-034 - 1 057 09 01 04 01

RANKINGS:

CENTRAL SCOUTING PRE ... 007 WHL
CENTRAL SCOUTING MID ... 029 N/A
CENTRAL SCOUTING FIN ... 025 N/A

INT'L SCOUT SVCS NOV ... 088
INT'L SCOUT SVCS JAN ... 055
INT'L SCOUT SVCS MAY ... 056

McKEENS PRELIMINARY .... 000 N/R
McKEENS MIDTERM ........ 028

SCOUTING REPORT:

PLUS:
-- Excellent skating ability and hockey sense.
-- Big shot from point (won CHL Top Prospect Game Hardest Shot).
-- Gritty and physical.
-- Has shown steady improvement all season.

MINUS:
-- Played only 49 games due to injuries (groin pull).
-- Little exposure to high-level international junior competition.

GAME TIME PROJECTION:
-- Top four defenseman; second-unit power play QB.

====================

With the 64th pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues are pleased to select, from HV-71 juniors of Sweden, left wing David Ullstrom.

David Ullstrom.Ullstrom sweater.Ullstrom headshot

Left wing, shoots left. 6'03", 198 lbs. Born April 22, 1989 in Jönköping, Sweden.

2007-08 CLUB/LEAGUE ... GP GL AS PTS +/- PIM PP SH FG GW
======================= == == == === === === == == == ==
HV-71 JR (SWE) ........ 40 27-27-054 +35 086 08 02 .. 07

RANKINGS:

CENTRAL SCOUTING PRE ... 029 SWE
CENTRAL SCOUTING MID ... 000 N/R
CENTRAL SCOUTING FIN ... 017 EUR

INT'L SCOUT SVCS NOV ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS JAN ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS MAY ... 000 N/R

McKEENS PRELIMINARY .... 000 N/R
McKEENS MIDTERM ........ 000 N/R

SCOUTING REPORT:

PLUS:
-- Good size and skating ability.
-- Gritty, physical edge to his game; plays in traffic.
-- Good scoring touch.
-- Has risen dramatically in rankings this season.

MINUS:
-- Second year of draft eligibility; not chosen last year.
-- Has trouble creating chances without quality linemates.
-- Under contract to Borås HC [Allsvenskan] for 2008-09.

GAME TIME PROJECTION:
-- Third-line two-way winger with scoring upside.

====================

With the 88th pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues are pleased to select, from the Kelowna Rockets of the Western League, center Colin Long.

Colin Long.Long sweater.Long headshot

Center, shoots right. 5'11", 186 lbs. Born June 19, 1989 in Santa Ana, California.

2007-08 CLUB/LEAGUE ... GP GL AS PTS +/- PIM PP SH FG GW
======================= == == == === === === == == == ==
KELOWNA (WHL) ......... 72 31-69-100 +22 041 14 00 09 06

RANKINGS:

CENTRAL SCOUTING PRE ... 000 N/R
CENTRAL SCOUTING MID ... 000 N/R
CENTRAL SCOUTING FIN ... 062 N/A

INT'L SCOUT SVCS NOV ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS JAN ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS MAY ... 095

McKEENS PRELIMINARY .... 000 N/R
McKEENS MIDTERM ........ 000 N/R

SCOUTING REPORT:

PLUS:
-- Excellent vision and playmaking skills.
-- Good anticipation and hand-eye coordination.
-- Very effective on power play.
-- Dramatic rise in rankings this season.

MINUS:
-- Second year of draft eligibility; not chosen last year.
-- Does not play with a physical edge at all.
-- Tends to play on the perimeter.
-- Needs work on defensive coverage.

GAME TIME PROJECTION:
-- Andy McDonald-type second-line center and power-play specialist.

====================

With the 95th pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues are pleased to select, from Edina High School in Minnesota, left wing Anders Lee.

Anders Lee.Lee sweater.Lee headshot

Left wing, shoots left. 6'02", 203 lbs. Born July 30, 1990 in Edina, Minnesota.

2007-08 CLUB/LEAGUE ... GP GL AS PTS +/- PIM PP SH FG GW
======================= == == == === === === == == == ==
EDINA HS (USHS-MN) .... 24 32-22-054 ... 018 .. .. .. ..

RANKINGS:

CENTRAL SCOUTING PRE ... 000 N/R
CENTRAL SCOUTING MID ... 174 N/A
CENTRAL SCOUTING FIN ... 112 N/A

INT'L SCOUT SVCS NOV ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS JAN ... 099
INT'L SCOUT SVCS MAY ... 000 N/R

McKEENS PRELIMINARY .... 000 N/R
McKEENS MIDTERM ........ 000 N/R

SCOUTING REPORT:

PLUS:
-- Three-sport athlete (QB in football, pitcher in baseball); honor student.
-- Thrives on lots of minutes.
-- Strong in all three zones, and on faceoffs.
-- Can play any role -- scorer, checker, set-up man.

MINUS:
-- Overlooked for state honors (Mr. Hockey).
-- Would benefit from a move to next level (USHL).
-- Could be more aggressive and use size better.

GAME TIME PROJECTION:
-- Second-line power winger.

==============================

With the 112th pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues are pleased to select, from Plzen juniors in the Czech Republic, left wing Jan Stransky.

Jan Stransky.Stransky sweater.Stransky headshot

Left wing, shoots right. 5'11", 176 lbs. Born April 16, 1990 in Plzen, Czech Republic.

2007-08 CLUB/LEAGUE ... GP GL AS PTS +/- PIM PP SH FG GW
======================= == == == === === === == == == ==
PLZEN JR (CZE) ........ 37 39-24-063 +27 016 .. .. .. ..

RANKINGS:

CENTRAL SCOUTING PRE ... 005 CZE
CENTRAL SCOUTING MID ... 021 EUR
CENTRAL SCOUTING FIN ... 028 EUR

INT'L SCOUT SVCS NOV ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS JAN ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS MAY ... 000 N/R

McKEENS PRELIMINARY .... 000 N/R
McKEENS MIDTERM ........ 000 N/R

SCOUTING REPORT:

PLUS:
-- Above-average speed and acceleration.
-- Aggressive backchecker and penalty-killer.
-- Very good stickhandling and puck control.
-- Quick release on an accurate wrist shot.

MINUS:
-- Size limits his effectiveness in traffic.
-- Uses his stick rather than his body in traffic.
-- Occasional lapses in defensive awareness.
-- Should use his slap shot more often.

GAME TIME PROJECTION:
-- Scoring line winger and power play specialist.

====================

With the 125th pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues are pleased to select, from Djurgården juniors in Sweden, center Henrik Eriksson.

Henrik Eriksson.Eriksson sweater.Eriksson headshot

Center, shoots left. 6'00", 209 lbs. Born April 15, 1990 in Västerhaninge, Sweden.

2007-08 CLUB/LEAGUE ... GP GL AS PTS +/- PIM PP SH FG GW
======================= == == == === === === == == == ==
DJURGÅRDEN JR (SWE) ... 37 08-12-020 + 5 045 03 01 .. 01

RANKINGS:

CENTRAL SCOUTING PRE ... 008 SWE
CENTRAL SCOUTING MID ... 036 EUR
CENTRAL SCOUTING FIN ... 030 EUR

INT'L SCOUT SVCS NOV ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS JAN ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS MAY ... 000 N/R

McKEENS PRELIMINARY .... 000 N/R
McKEENS MIDTERM ........ 000 N/R

SCOUTING REPORT:

PLUS:
-- Solid skating, balance, and lower-body strength.
-- Excellent two-way player, leader and warrior.
-- Very good puckhandling and passing skills.
-- Good hockey sense and maturity beyond his years.

MINUS:
-- Speed is just okay; not elite.
-- Needs to use his puckhandling abilities more.
-- Needs to shoot more often instead of looking for the pass.

GAME TIME PROJECTION:
-- Third-line center and penalty-killing specialist.

====================

With the 155th pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues are pleased to select, from the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the United States League, goaltender Brady Hjelle.

Brady Hjelle.Hjelle sweater.Hjelle headshot

Goaltender, catches left. 5'10", 175 pounds. Born May 5, 1990 in International Falls, Minnesota.

2007-08 CLUB/LEAGUE .... GP MINS GAA. SV % SHTS W. L. T.
========== ============= == ==== ==== ==== ==== == == ==
CEDAR RAPIDS (USHL) .... 41 2380 2.50 92.1 1257 22-15-04

RANKINGS:

CENTRAL SCOUTING PRE ... USHL B
CENTRAL SCOUTING MID ... 019 NAG
CENTRAL SCOUTING FIN ... 017 NAG

INT'L SCOUT SVCS NOV ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS JAN ... 000 N/R
INT'L SCOUT SVCS MAY ... 000 N/R

McKEENS PRELIMINARY .... 000 N/R
McKEENS MIDTERM ........ 000 N/R

SCOUTING REPORT:

PLUS:
-- Textbook mechanics; compact butterfly style.
-- Excellent rebound control.
-- Excellent game-reading skills and anticipation.
-- Quick hands; can close the five-hole quickly.

MINUS:
-- Not an elite athlete; size could be a factor.
-- Puckhandling skills need further work.
-- Needs to challenge shooters more aggressively.
-- Lack of lateral power leaves him vulnerable to diagonal and lateral passes.

GAME TIME PROJECTION:
-- Backup (25-35 GP) NHL goaltender; AHL starter.

====================

DRAFT BREAKDOWN BY COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

United States ... USA ... 3 [ HJELLE, LEE, LONG ]

Sweden ... SWE ... 2 [ ERIKSSON, ULLSTROM ]

C, eh. N, eh. D, eh. ... CAN ... 1 [ DOUGHTY ]

Czech Republic ... CZE ... 1 [ STRANSKY ]

Finland ... FIN ... 1 [ NIEMI ]

COMMITMENTS:

HJELLE (CRA/USHL) ... MINNESOTA-DULUTH (WCHA)
LEE... (EDINA HS) ... NOT COMMITED (GRADE 11)

====================

GTPD NOTES ON THESE PICKS:

DOUGHTY: We had Doughty as the #2 defenseman available in the draft on our list, behind Bogosian. When Atlanta went with Schenn (whom we have at #3), Doughty was an easy choice. With the (mock) trade of McKee and McClement, we feel that Vermette and Doughty can step in and fill the holes left in the NHL roster by that move, and that we've upgraded the Blues in both positions.

NIEMI: This is a player we really, really like at the GTPD. Niemi is gritty, tough, has a slapshot that we'd love to see Al Macinnis work with and refine (both of his shots at the Top Prospect competiton were 92.0 MPH), and he has offensive upside, particularly on the power play. Give him two more seasons to dominate in the best junior league in the world, and he should be reay to step right in to the Blues' lineup in 2010.

ULLSTROM: Somewhat of an "off-the-board" pick, but as another poster mentioned in the Mock Draft thread, "a very St. Louis-y pick, and a good one." We concur. Since he was drafted from a Euro junior league, he could come over and play in the AHL as early as next season, and we would make a very strong push for him to do just that. He's physically mature and has a nose for the net.

LONG: Nothing but offense, which the Blues can certainly use in the system. Not the biggest or toughest guy in the world, but he can score, and is a great set-up man at the junior level. He's got one more year of junior eligibility left before he can come play in Peoria, but his 100-point skills will be a welcome addition to the Rivermen lineup in 2009.

LEE: This year's GTPD "Tomas Kana Special," the player we're going out on a limb right now to predict will be a member of the Blues' organization after the upcoming draft. This kid has size, skill, attitude, intelligence, hockey sense, and pure athletic ability -- he plays the "pressure" positions in three sports, the positions in which the game is heavily influenced by his individual performance, and he thrives on it. Lee is only a junior this year, which means he still has another year of high school to play before going to college (similar to Matthew McCollem when the Blues drafted him in 2006), and it's a good bet that he'll take a step up to stronger competition and play in the USHL next year.

STRANSKY: Led his Plzen junior team in scoring this year, and got a cup of coffee (with cream and sugar) in the Czech Extraliga at age 17. He's a goal scorer who can also make plays and set up his linemates; he does tend to play the Euro perimeter game somewhat, but that can be coached out of him.

ERIKSSON: We look at this kid as a possible Michal Handzus in the making. He has some scoring upside, but his most important traits are leadership, character, defensive awareness and team play. This is the kind of kid who will skate through a brick wall for you, and he also has no problem with standing up for his teammates.

HJELLE: Pronounced like "jelly," this kid has all the tools to be a solid pro. His attitude and approach to the game is rock-solid, he has been well-groomed and well-coached, and his style is economical and lends itself to making the saves look easy. Hjelle will stand between the pipes for Minnesota-Duluth next season, and his commitment to a college program was a big factor in why we chose him for the Blues. Hjelle can be safely tucked away in Duluth for the next four years, while the quartet of Schwarz, Bishop, Toivonen and Berra get sorted out.

Your observations are welcome in the "Comments" area, and, until the real draft takes place here in just a few weeks, 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.