St. Louis Game Time PROSPECT SUNDAY
By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department
BLUES' 2011 DRAFT REVIEW, PART TWO: Rounds Four, Five, Six and Seven.
Blues add depth up front, and Euros on defense, with late-round picks in 2011 Entry Draft.
The last eight times the Blues heard their names called at the NHL Entry Draft, draft guru extraordinaire Jarmo Kekalainen answered the bell.
This year, for the first time since 2002, the Blues went into battle without their draft general... but fear not, Blues Nation, for Kekalainen left the drafting process in the very capable hands of the Armstrong braintrust -- General Manager Doug Armstrong and new Director of Amateur Scouting Bill Armstrong.
2002 was also the last time the Blues did not have a first-round pick in the Entry Draft; their first selection that year, at 48th overall, was the much-maligned Alexei Shkotov, who -- believe it or not -- is still hanging around the KHL after bailing on the Blues midway through his rookie pro season in 2004-05.
Only time will tell if the unrelated Armstrongs will do better with their second-round pick(s) this year than ex-scout Ted Hampson did with his selection of Shkotov. We've already covered, in an earlier report, the Blues' picks in the second and third rounds this weekend; coming up, everything you always wanted to know about the four most recently-added players to the Blues' highly-regarded stable of prospects.
By the numbers...
Following are the scoring, penalty, and goaltending statistics for all eight of the prospects drafted by the Blues this weekend:
|ST. LOUIS BLUES 2011 DRAFT - PROSPECT STATS|
|32||RATTIE, Ty||RW/R||5-11||170||02-05-93||Portland (WHL)||67||28||51||79||20||55||6||0||4|
|41||JASKIN, Dmitrij||RW/L||6-01||196||03-23-93||Slavia (CZE)||33||3||7||10||4||16||0||0||0|
|46||EDMUNDSON, Joel||D/L||6-04||191||06-28-93||Moose Jaw (WHL)||71||2||18||20||3||95||1||0||0|
|88||BINNINGTON, Jordan||G/L||6-02||160||07-11-93||Owen Sound (OHL)||46||0||2||2||0||8||0||0||0|
|102||VEILLEUX, Yannick||LW/L||6-02||190||02-22-93||Shawinigan (QMJHL)||68||19||29||48||- 9||40||10||0||3|
|132||LUNDSTRÖM, Niklas||G/L||6-02||187||01-10-93||AIK Jr. (SWE Jr)||22||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|162||TESINK, Ryan||C/L||5-11||157||05-21-93||Saint John (QMJHL)||59||8||27||35||26||38||0||0||1|
|192||ERONEN, Teemu||D/L||5-11||180||11-22-90||Jokerit (FIN)||48||2||11||13||- 2||24||1||0||0|
|ST. LOUIS BLUES 2011 DRAFT - PROSPECT GOALTENDING STATS|
|Player||Ps/Ct||Ht||Wt||Birthdate||2009-10 Club/League||GP||Mins||GA||SO||GAA||W-L-OT||Shts||Sv %|
|BINNINGTON, Jordan||G/L||6-02||160||07-11-93||Owen Sound (OHL)||46||2596||132||1||3.05||27-12-5||1307||0.899|
|LUNDSTRÖM, Niklas||G/L||6-02||187||01-10-93||AIK Jr. (SWE Jr)||22||1259||64||1||3.05||12-9-1||585||0.891|
After the jump, an in-depth look at Veilleux, Lundström, Tesink and Eronen.
Bottom four picks add depth at all positions.
With their only pick of the fourth round, at 102nd overall, the Blues went shopping in La Belle Province for forward depth and came away with power winger Yannick Veilleux (#9 White in the photo at left) from the Shawinigan Cataractes.
The Scouting Report.org website filed a report on Veilleux in an article entiteld "The QMJHL: Who's Out There After Couturier?" from November 2010. In it, "TSR" noted that "Yannick is a power forward that can put the puck in the net. There is no lack of size for a 17 year old and he gives it his all every game never shying away from a check." The report goes on to note Veilleux's discipline, commenting on the relatively low number of penalty minutes he accumulates for a player who likes the rough going.
"Yannick has had an increase in responsibility and has responded in a great way," the report concludes. "If he can continue his strong season it will not be a surprise to see him go in the first few rounds."
Freelance scout Dan Sallows, on his website at dansallows.com, filed this report about Veilleux early in the 2010-11 season:
Veilleux is a big strong, prototypical power forward that is dangerous in traffic, battles hard along the boards and in the corners, finishes his checks consistently, and has an excellent shot. He is a pure goal scorer, but he does have decent vision, to go with a great work ethic as well. Veilleux represented Team Quebec at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Timmins, Ontario, where he potted 1 goal and 4 points through 5 games. With his size, and uncanny ability to score goals, the talented winger is part of an excellent crop of young stars from the Q that should be a high picks come the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Prior to joining the Cataractes in 2009-10, Veilleux posted a 21-13-34 scoring line in 44 games for Saint-Eustache of the Quebec Major Midget League, which led to his being selected second overall in the 2009 QMJHL Midget Entry Draft. In 2009-10, Veilleux managed just three goals and nine points in 55 games, but finished the 2010-11 season by increasing his production better than five-fold (19-29-48, minus-9, 40 PM, 10 PPG, 3 GWG in 68 games).
In the QMJHL playoffs, Veilleux posted two goals and seven points (plus-1, 14 PM) in 12 games played, with no PP goals or game-winners.
At 132nd overall, the Blues went back to Europe and back to the goaltending prospect pool, reeling in the 8th-ranked European goaltender, Niklas Lundström of the AIK Solna organization in Sweden.
Lundström, who tips the scales at 6' 2, 187 pounds, played at all three primary levels of the AIK organization last season -- the U18 squad, the U20 squad, and the Elitserien club. The Värmdö native played one game for the AIK men's club, surrendering five goals on 23 shots in 47:20 of playing time, and also put in one game with the U18 squad late in the season, giving up three goals on 22 shots in a full 60 minutes.
The bulk of Lundström's season was spent with the U20 squad, where he put up a 3.052 GAA and 89.1% save percentage in 1259 minutes of playing time over 22 games, posting a 12-9-1 record. The AIK U20 squad did not qualify for the J20Superelit playoffs, so Lundström was assigned to the J18 Allsvenskan squad for the post-season, where he played every minute of the post-season and put up a 2.47 GAA and 91.4% save percentage in 387:55 of playing time over six games.
At the U-18 World Junior Championships in April, Lundström played every minute for the silver medalist Unga Kronor (Young Crowns), allowing just 13 goals on 146 shots in 364:43 of playing time for a solid 2.14 GAA, 91.1% saves rate, and a 4-2-0 record. That performance is most likely what caught the Blues' eye.
With the 162nd overall pick, the Blues returned to Quebec to pick up a player whom, if his junior teammates are to be believed in THIS article posted at the Fox News.com website, may turn out to be the steal of the draft.
"I'll give it to you right now... I'll call it," Saint John defenseman Nathan Beaulieu said. "Ryan Tesink is probably the most underrated player in the draft this year. He should be a second-round pick in my eyes. He's going to be a pro. He's got the heart of gold and he's a hometown kid."
High praise from the player ranked fifth overall in North America by Central Scouting (and selected 17th overall by Montreal), but Beaulieu isn't the only member of the high-powered Sea Dogs to sing the praises of their small-but-mighty teammate.
"His tenacity is something that would inspire you to become a little grittier," No. 15-rated (and 28th-overall pick) Zack Phillips told NHL.com. "No matter who is in the corner, he's going in first. Even though he's small (5-foot-11, 157 pounds), he's going into every corner against the 6-foot-5 guy.
"He's not backing down from any challenges... he even fought guys bigger and heavier than him a couple of times this year. He gets hit a couple times, but takes it like a champ and gets right back up."
Finally, the third-ranked player on Central Scouting's 2011 list (and third overall selection by Florida), Jonathan Huberdeau, also has nothing but compliments for his sometime linemate.
"He has a lot of talent, and improved so much since the beginning of season," Huberdeau told NHL.com. "When I played with him (on the same line), he made a lot of good passes. I think he's going to be a good player and whatever team drafts him, he'll be able to showcase those skills."
Tesink has been outworking opponents and teammates alike since his days with the Woodstock Slammers of the Maritime Junior A League in 2009-10, where he racked up a 10-19-29 scoring line with 96 PM in 44 games. That performance, and a 4-6-10 scoring line in five games for Team Atlantic at the 2010 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, led to Tesink being selected in the first round (18th overall) of the 2010 QMJHL Midget Entry Draft.
Tesink scored well at the 2011 Scouting Combine in two tests that the Blues' scouts pay close attention to: the Anaerobic Fitness Fatigue Index, where he placed just outside the top ten with a score of 40.5 (the high score was 33.7, and the average 49.5), and the infamous Aerobic Fitness VO2 Max stationary bike test, where Tesink placed behind only 13th-overall selection Sven Bärtschi with a score of 67.9. Bärtschi's score was 68.7, and the average score was 56.4.
The Hockey News.com recently ran a story on Tesink in which they referred to the Saint John native as "speedy and tenacious" and noted that he "brings a whatever-is-needed attitude to the rink," and where their anonymous NHL scout filed these notes:
"There’s different levels of interest in Ryan," said one NHL scout. "He doesn’t have a whole lot of size, but he doesn’t take a back step to anyone. His coaches have tremendous things to say about his work ethic."
And that work ethic has been important, since Tesink didn’t always see top-six minutes thanks to Saint John’s loaded-up lineup. He and fellow draft-eligible forward Scott Oke had to shine in spurts, based on what was needed from them on any given night. But teams don’t draft on good intentions, so limited exposure will not factor in to an NHL team’s decision.
"You don’t want to use that as an excuse," said the scout. "If you’re a fifth round pick, you should be able to contribute and he did that."
Finally, to wrap up the draft with the 192nd pick, the Blues went back to where they began in the fall of 2002. With their final pick in the 2011 Entry Draft, the Blues selected unranked Finnish defenseman Teemu Eronen from Jokerit Helsinki, the club now managed by Jarmo Kekalainen.
The only scouting report publicly available on Eronen comes from the link above, at the Elite Prospects.com website, where they note that Eronen is "(a)n offensive defenseman who is good on (the) power play," and "(n)ot very good physically." It is presumed that the Blues got a much more in-depth scouting report on Eronen as a professional courtesy from Kekalainen, or at the very least, sent Euro scout Ville Siren out to visit his home country and take a couple of looks at the young man.
The Vantää native, who reaches the "legal" age of 21 in November, spent all of 2010-11 (48 games) and most of 2009-10 (33 games) in the Finnish elite league, the SM-Liiga. In those 81 games over the last two seasons, Eronen is a respectable 3-22-25 in scoring with 42 PM. During the 2009-10 season, Eronen also played 11 games with Jokerit's U-20 squad, feeding teammates for goals 14 times while scoring none himself. He also skated for Finland in the 2010 U-20 World Junior Championships in Canada, where he again made a respectable showing with a power-play goal and two helpers for three points in six games.
Eronen is contracted to Jokerit through 2011-12, which makes an appearance in Peoria this season unlikely unless he comes over at the end of the Finnish season on an ATO contract. If that happens, 2010 draft pick Jani Hakanpää will have reached age 20 by that time, and his contract with Blues Espoo will also have expired, setting up a possible Dynamic Duo of Finns on Peoria's blueline for the 2012 AHL Playoffs.