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Game Time's "Silver Seven" for Round Two

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Potential Blues Targets in the second 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 second round of each draft in the Jarmo Kekalainen Era (since 2003):

... Avg Sel Avg Ht IN CM Wt (lb) Wt (kg) In NHL .....
... 41 6-01.5 73.5 186.7 191.0 86.6 1 .....
... United States Canada Sweden Czech Republic ... ... ... .....
Goal 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Def 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Fwd 3 0 2 1 0 0 0 6

Based on past history, it looks like the Blues just might be thinking about drafting a forward in the second round, eh?

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 48th overall on June 27.

2009 Round 2

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 second round:

Player Pos Sht Height Weight Birthdate Birthplace 2008-09 Club GP G A Pts PIM Country
CHIASSON, Alex RW R 6-04 187 10-01-90 Montreal, QC Des Moines (USHL) 56 17 33 50 101 Canada
HANOWSKI, Ben LW L 6-02 198 10-18-90 Little Falls, MN Little Falls HS (HS-MN) 25 57 53 110 16 United States
KLINGBERG, Carl RW R 6-03 205 01-28-91 Gothenburg, Sweden Frölunda HC (Swe Jr) 35 13 13 26 34 Sweden
O'REILLY, Ryan C L 6-00 205 02-07-91 Clinton, ON Erie (OHL) 68 16 50 66 26 Canada
MORIN, Jeremy RW R 6-00 185 04-16-91 Auburn, NY USNTDP U-18 46 26 22 48 99 United States
RODIN, Anton RW L 5-11 172 11-21-90 Stockholm, Sweden Brynäs IF (Swe Jr) 37 29 26 55 34 Sweden
SILFVERBERG, Jakob LW R 6-01 187 10-13-90 Gavle, Sweden Brynäs IF (Swe Jr) 30 14 24 38 6 Sweden

The scouting reports below are composited from four major sources -- NHL.com, International Scouting Services' monthly "Future Stars" reports, the "McKeens Hockey Prospects" website, and the "Elite Prospects" website.

... SCOUTING REPORTS ...
Alex Chiasson Chiasson Scouting Report -- Started the season as more of a puck protection power forward, but ended the season with a distinct physical presence ... drives the net off the half boards or from behind the net ... able to shield the puck with stickhandling prowess, long reach, positioning, and sheer effort of fighting through checks and sticks ... does need more acceleration with the puck for better separation in tight places to ensure success at higher levels ... confident stickhandler who is patient with the puck and can handle it across his body well ... has a hard wrist shot and a heavy slapshot ... makes crisp, accurate passes and is dangerous along the half boards and end boards with centering passes ... is effective on the power play ... additional lower body strength will give him the power and low center of gravity to become almost unstoppable ... committed to Boston University for 2009-10 season. Chiasson sweater
Ben Hanowski Hanowski Scouting Report -- Finished his high school career as Minnesota’s all-time scoring champion (117 GP, 196-209-405) ... led 2009 State HS Class A tournament in scoring (3 GP, 7-2-9); selected to tournament all-star team ... committed to St. Cloud State University for 2009-10 ... plays very hard all the time ... a player who can carry his team and make the big-time game-changing play ... stick handling and skating in open ice is impressive ... has the ability to dish off very effectively with solid tape to tape passes ... size is adequate for the next level, and he is still growing ... scoring touch is very impressive; has great hands, vision and timing with the puck ... only real question is his feet; gets up and down the ice just fine, but agility is sometimes suspect compared to other high end forwards in this draft ... steady and solid defensively, sound positional play ... has good size, but needs to be more assertive physically at times ... has improved in all parts of his game this year. Hanowski sweater
Carl Klingberg Klingberg Scouting Report -- Big player who skates well, plays physical, and is willing to go to those tough areas to score ... has the ability to rapidly accelerate into lightning-fast top gear that enables him to beat defenders wide ... once he has a step on you, he's gone to the net ... works hard and plays with energy and solid work ethic ... plays in all situations –- even strength, power play and penalty kill ... jumps into the holes well, shows willingness to take the puck hard to the net ... has a good shot with quick release ... plays a bull in a china shop style and vigorously attacks the net each and every shift ... competitive, hardnosed, and makes a living playing along the boards ... has good hockey sense and technical skills, and is able to set up as well as finish play ... has the potential to become a high scoring player in the future, but could also be used as a role player ... a good team guy who jumps to the defense of smaller teammates during scrums. Klingberg sweater
Jeremy Morin Morin Scouting Report -- A terrific prospect who played a number of games with the NTDP U-18 team last year as an underage ... has good speed but his feet may be a little heavy ... displays good puck skills, has spectacular hands and a real knack for getting himself into good scoring positions ... terrific from the blueline in, Morin has the ability to make things happen in heavy traffic areas and in tight around the goal ... owns a heavy shot and the natural goal scoring ability that cannot be coached ... not a selfish player, and can create through the passing game ... shot is deadly accurate and very hard ... has good size, is good on the forecheck, and takes good angles on opposing players ... did not play USA's final three games at U18 5 Nations Tournament due to an off-ice issue ... a player that has the tools to play at the next level, but must make sure that he maintains his focus ... as long as the work ethic is there, Morin looks like he could be a potential home run. Morin sweater
Ryan O'Reilly O'Reilly Scouting Report -- O'Reilly has some skating issues; he uses stops and starts to change directions rather than turning, and he lacks quickness ... hockey sense and anticipation are his strongest assets ... it doesn't matter how you get there as long as you get there, and O'Reilly consistently gets into position before the puck even arrives ... an unselfish player with potent playmaking skills ... has excellent peripheral vision and sees the whole ice ... a great passer that creatively utilizes the boards ... goes like heck to the net when the opportunity presents itself ... not overly concerned with scoring; rather makes sure he's the third man high and that he's always in proper defensive positioning ... a phenomenal penalty killer that suffocates the point ... an ace in the faceoff circle; so strong on faceoffs, especially in clutch situations, that his team can diagram creative plays off them ... a character kid both on and off the ice; Erie's team captain. O'Reilly sweater
Anton Rodin Rodin Scouting Report -- A very skilled player who's offensive game stands out thanks to his superb skating, his shot, hockey sense and puck handling ... competitive, and does not shy away from physical play despite relative lack of size ... could stand to gain more strength ... tore up the U20 5 Nations tournament in Turku, Finland, scoring 4 goals and 3 assists in 4 games, including a big 2 goal, 1 assist performance in a 4-1 win over Switzerland ... perhaps the fastest-rising and most improved talent in Sweden at the moment ... an effective scorer who can score unbelievable goals on a regular basis ... tremendous puck handler with a very good shot ... has top tier offensive talent, but does need to build his physical strength in order to play his style of game at the next level. Rodin sweater
Jakob Silfverberg Silfverberg Scouting Report -- A strong skating two-way forward with good hockey sense ... a very smart and mature player ... solid both offensively and defensively ... has decent technical skills and plays with plenty of intensity ... not particularly physical ... stronger with space than he is under pressure, and is better suited working the give and go than driving the net on his own ... shot is quick, but could be more accurate ... good in-tight puck control, and quick puck reactions ... named player of the game vs. Germany at 2009 U18 Five Nations tournament in February ... an excellent threat around the net, and is constantly open in the offensive zone. Silfverberg sweater

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.

Ranking Chiasson Hanowski Klingberg Morin O'Reilly Rodin Silfverberg
Ranking Alex Chiasson Ben Hanowski Carl Klingberg Jeremy Morin Ryan O'Reilly Anton Rodin Jakob Silfverberg
CSS Midterm 34 NA 45 NA 7 Eur 21 NA 35 NA 19 Eur 15 Eur
CSS Final 34 NA 35 NA 7 Eur 33 NA 39 NA 15 Eur 12 Eur
ISS Oct NR NR 7 Eur 2 USA 8 OHL NR 15 Eur
ISS Nov NR NR 25 11 NR NR NR
ISS Dec NR NR 27 12 NR NR NR
ISS Feb 75 66 31 23 61 NR 57
ISS Mar 78 69 33 28 52 NR 61
ISS Apr 85 77 32 27 50 NR 67
McK Dec NR NR NR 10 NR NR NR
McK Mar 50 NR 29 33 42 NR 54

The Last Word from your Game Time Prospect Department

As the trend chart clearly shows, the Blues will more than likely look to bolster their forward ranks in the second round. The system is already pretty rich with centers -- Lars Eller, Brett Sonne, Jori Lehtera, Philip McRae, Anthony Nigro and Nick Drazenovic, just to name a few -- and there's a pretty good chance that the first-round pick will be a center as well (either Jacob Josefson, Landon Ferraro, or Drew Shore), so we have concentrated on wingers in the "Silver Seven" for the second round.

This particular draft is very deep with upper-level talent; the first five picks are essentially set, and then it's a real crap shoot between picks # 6 and 60. It's mostly the same players on everyone's list in those positions, but opinions vary widely between teams as to where those players should be ranked. This would be an ideal draft for the Blues to trade down in the first round in order to acquire some extra picks in the second and/or third rounds, because there are some potential gems to be had.

We at the Game Time Prospect Department feel that the ideal situation for the Blues would be to do something like this:

To the New York Islanders: The Blues' selection at 17th overall.

To the St. Louis Blues: San Jose's selection at 26th overall (previously acquired by NYI), Toronto's selection at 37th overall (previously acquired by NYI), and goaltender Yann Danis.

This trade allows the Islanders to still have three picks in the top 31 of this draft, including two in the top 17, and they still have another second-rounder at 56th overall (courtesy of the Boston Bruins). They also clear a roster spot at Bridgeport for Peter Mannino to take over as the number one there, and to allow either collegian Jase Weslowsky or Euro Stefan Ridderwall to turn pro.

This trade also provides the Blues with a solid, NHL-proven backup to Chris Mason in goal, allowing Ben Bishop and Chris Holt (provided Holt is re-signed, as he should be) the relative luxury of having the entire year to compete in Peoria for the starter's role. Furthermore, even by trading down to 26th, the Blues should still be able to get a quality first-rounder in Drew Shore, whom we expect to still be available there, and have an extra second-round pick for Kekalainen and the staff to work with.

An additional option, if Shore should be gone by 26th overall, would be to use that pick to draft Klingberg, who has been posited as a potential first-rounder in several mock drafts, or to swing for the fences with Morin, who has sufficient talent to justify a first-round selection if he can maintain his focus and discipline.

Assuming, however, that no deal is made, and that the Blues draft Shore at 17th overall as we have previously advocated, the pick at 48th overall will likely come down to a choice between Chiasson, Hanowski, Rodin and Silfverberg.

It would not surprise us to see Klingberg chosen in the first round, nor would it surprise us to see him drop to the Blues at 48th, though we feel the former outcome is the more likely one. We also fully expect Morin to be gone by 48th, as we feel his skill level will prove irresistible for an organization drafting near the top of the second round. O'Reilly is something of a wild card, as he clearly has a solid work ethic, is good on faceoffs, and is a top-notch set-up man. The Blues' organization is, however, currently bursting at the seams with players who also fit that description, and on balance, we don't see the center O'Reilly as the BPA if any or all of the four wingers listed above are also still on the board at 48th.

Chiasson's size is intriguing, and he is a natural RW with a high skill level, a position in which the organization is less than adequately supplied. He has a bit of a mean streak, and shows every indication of developing into an adequate power forward sooner rather than later. One scouting report on Chiasson noted that he was likely to be a player who plays only two years in college before turning pro.

Hanowski's skill level is evident; an average of better than four points per game is no mean feat regardless of the level of competition, and if Hanowski can translate that skill level into a point per game (or something close to it) as a freshman at St. Cloud next year, he could well be another David Backes-type find for the Blues in the second round.

Rodin (and yes, his name is pronounced the same way as that of Godzilla's worst enemy) may well be the most skilled player on this list. Despite a lack of notice from ISS and McKeens in their rankings this season, Rodin has been steadily scoring goals all year long with the Brynäs junior squad, and the only real knock against him is a lack of size. It should be pointed out, however, that the Blues used a pick at 39th overall in 2007 to draft another small Swede with a high skill level, and Simon Hjalmarsson is rounding into one of the Blues' better prospects.

Silfverberg has a good combination of size and skill, was better than a point-per-game player in his second season with the Brynäs J20 Superelit squad, and also saw considerable time with the senior team in the Elitserien, where he managed three goals and four points in 16 games as an 18-year-old.

This will not be an easy decision for Kekalainen and the scouts to make, and it wasn't an easy decision for us to make here, with a lot less riding on it. There are lots of things to like about every player on this list, and not a lot to dislike. All of the players on this list were invited to the NHL Scouting Combine, and there's every reason to believe that the Blues looked at, and probably talked to, all of them.

Your GTPD Pick for the Blues at 48th overall: Ben Hanowski, RW, Little Falls HS (HS-MN) .