Potential Blues Targets in the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Tomorrow's Blues Online with Brian Weidler
In this report, and the ones to follow, your Game Time Prospect Department will spotlight seven players whom we feel are (or should be) the Blues' primary targets in each round of the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
We will spotlight potential selections in the first, second, third, fourth, and sixth rounds; the Blues do not currently have a selection in the fifth round (traded to LA for T.J. Fast in 2008) or the seventh round (traded to LA for a pick that the Blues used to select Paul Karpowich in 2008).
First, let's review the selections that the Blues have made in the first round of each draft in the Jarmo Kekalainen Era (since 2003):
|...||Avg Sel||Avg Ht||IN||CM||Wt (lb)||Wt (kg)||In NHL||.....|
After the break, we'll put the spotlight on seven players whom we expect to figure in the discussions when the Blues' turn to draft comes up at 17th overall on June 26.
Based on the current rankings of the players by NHL Central Scouting and other scouting services, and on the results of several mock drafts conducted by NHL.com and at the "Hockey's Future" website, the following seven players are projected to be available in the range (+/- five spots) in which the Blues will be drafting in the first round:
|FERRARO, Landon||C||R||6-00||170||08-08-91||Trail, BC||Red Deer (WHL)||68||37||18||55||99|
|JOSEFSON, Jacob||C||L||6-00||187||03-02-91||Stockholm, Sweden||Djurgardens IF (Swe-2)||50||5||11||16||14|
|KREIDER, Chris||C||L||6-02||201||04-30-91||Boston, MA||Philips-Andover Acad. (HS-MA)||26||33||23||56||10|
|KULIKOV, Dmitry||D||L||6-01||195||10-29-90||Lipetsk, Russia||Drummondville (QMJHL)||57||12||50||62||46|
|MOORE, John||D||L||6-02||189||11-19-90||Winnetka, IL||Chicago (USHL)||57||14||25||39||50|
|RUNDBLAD, David||D||R||6-02||190||10-08-90||Lycksele, Sweden||Skelleftea AIK (Swe)||45||0||10||10||8|
|SHORE, Drew||C||R||6-02||198||01-21-91||Denver, CO||USNTDP U-18||53||14||23||37||38|
The scouting reports below are composited from three major sources -- NHL.com, International Scouting Services' monthly "Future Stars" reports, and the "McKeens Hockey Prospects" website.
|Ferraro Scouting Report -- Named the Red Deer Rebels team MVP ... scoring runs in the family and this season he did not disappoint ... a leader on a young team, he displayed his positive influence on a nightly basis ... needs to develop more consistency and polish his defensive game, but effort is always there ... a pure goal scorer who thrives on scoring; once he gets one, he wants more ... a pit bull that plays bigger than his size ... has a high motor, hits hard and plays a relentless brand of hockey ... willing to take a hit to make the play and gets pucks on net ... expected to be a dominating force on a Red Deer team that will be much improved next season.|
|Josefson Scouting Report -- An agile two-way skater who keeps his feet moving all the time ... in shorthanded situations, will skate puck out of the defensive end, then pass back to an open teammate in his own end to elude pressure and run the clock ... has very good outside speed and explosive lateral movement ... has good puck control at full speed ... thinks and anticipates the game well, and is always in position ... covers the puck effectively in traffic ... has the ability to execute from both sides of his stick ... strong on his feet and on the puck ... very quick hands and fantastic vision with the puck ... should shoot more ... very unselfish and hard-working.|
|Kreider Scouting Report -- Committed to Boston College for 2010-11 season ... combination of size, speed and skill should make him a top pick in the earlier rounds ... an excellent skater with explosive speed and acceleration ... short-distance speed is exceptional ... sees the play ahead of time and knows what he's going to do with the puck as soon as he gets it ... an excellent passer and playmaker... a constant threat to develop breakaways on the penalty-killing unit ... has both an excellent wrist and slap shot, with a quick release ... a great character player... a presence in the locker room.|
|Kulikov Scouting Report -- The top offensive defenseman available from QMJHL ... Drummondville’s go-to guy in all situations ... played for Russia at the 2009 World U20 Championships as a top four defenseman ... a skilled offensive blueliner with good mobility and very good puck skills ... sees ice well, anticipates well, makes quick good decisions with the puck ... needs work in defensive end; positioning and decisions are average ... shows very good gap control and the ability to close the gap quickly to take away options ... solid open-ice hitter.|
|Moore Scouting Report -- Native of Winnetka, IL ... a good skater who moves well laterally ... very light and quick feet ... moves the puck up the ice quickly ... makes a good outlet pass and can skate the puck deep into the offensive zone ... sees time on power-play and penalty-kill units ... good size, long reach, and a solid frame ... not a bone-crushing hitter, but will play the body ... holds checks well along the boards and has developed more of an edge ... occasionally backs in a little deep against the rush instead of confronting oncoming forward ... very confident with the puck.|
|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.|
|Shore Scouting Report -- Denver native is an active and energetic offensive threat ... good vision and playmaking skills ... an extremely agile player with excellent speed and explosive lateral movement ... never quits skating ... strong on his skates, and on the puck ... very effective faceoff man ... plays in all situations -- even strength, power play, and penalty kill ... unselfish player who has good defensive awareness ... very aggressive defensively and supports his defensemen low in the zone ... finishes his checks but does not take himself out of position with the big hit ... goes hard to the net ... strong wrist shot.|
The following table spotlights where each of these players is, or has been, ranked by various scouting services throughout the year.
Key: CSS = NHL Central Scouting Service. ISS = International Scouting Services. McK = McKeen's Hockey Prospects.
|CSS Midterm||13 NA||3 Eur||14 NA||17 NA||8 NA||4 Eur||32 NA|
|CSS Final||18 NA||3 Eur||14 NA||11 NA||6 NA||6 Eur||28 NA|
|ISS Oct||6 WHL||6 Eur||28 USA||5 Que||17 USA||9 Eur||3 USA|
The Last Word from your Game Time Prospect Department
The Blues have pretty good depth in the system at defense already, with one NHL'er (Erik Johnson) drafted in the first round post-2003, and two more first-round draftees with solid NHL potential (Alex Pietrangelo and Ian Cole) in the pipeline. That said, if either Moore or Kulikov were to fall to the Blues at 17th overall, we would expect Kekalainen and Company to jump on one of them.
Both Moore and Kulikov are solid offensive-minded defensemen, and either would fit right in as the second-pairing offensive catalyst. Both have some shortcomings defensively, but Moore will be attending a top-notch Division I NCAA school next year (Colorado College), and Kulikov has two more years of junior eligibility to round out his defensive game.
Both have also seen their draft stock rise steadily over the course of the year, with Kulikov's ascent being slightly more precipitous than Moore's.
We expect both Moore and Kulikov to be off the board before the Blues pick at 17th, however, and neither in our estimation is equivalent to the 17th pick plus the asset(s) that the Blues would have to include with their first-round pick in order to trade up.
We also expect Josefson to go before the Blues pick at 17th, probably to a team like Los Angeles or Edmonton. There's a chance that Ferraro could also go high, again to a team like Edmonton that likes to draft Western Canadians with skill.
The decision, then, should come down to either the Swedish defenseman Rundblad, or one of the two American forwards, Shore or Kreider. Rundblad at 17th overall would be something of an "off-the-board" pick, as the consensus on him is that he's a late first-rounder in the 20-25 range. He also doesn't fit the profile of recent Blues' draftees, as they have not taken a Swedish blueliner in the first round post-2003.
Both Shore and Kreider are Made In USA prospects, and under Larry Pleau, the Blues have become known for a preference for American-born players in the draft, all other things being equal. Both Shore and Kreider have excellent size and skating ability; Shore appears to be more of a set-up playmaking center, whereas Kreider appears to be more of an offensive catalyst and goal-scorer.
Shore is more polished and developed, whereas Kreider is more of a "diamond in the rough" type with one more year of high school to play at Philips-Andover Prep. Shore is more experienced in international and high-level play, whereas Kreider's potential and upside both seem to be higher.