With their third-round selections, the Blues selected Dylan Peterson and Leo Loof. I won’t waste your time with a drawn-out article explaining each in depth but here are my thoughts on the two names and how Blues fans can expect from them. We’ll start with Loof
Leo Lööf (LD)
Taken 88th Overall // My Pick: Michael Benning (RD)
Ceiling: Bottom-Four Defenseman ; Floor: AHL Defenseman
Lööf is not going to be a name that dominates the households of Blues fans one day. He’s unremarkable in the best way; providing reliability even in the absence of much potential.
Maybe the Blues were aiming for Leo’s twin brother Linus? Linus is a much better prospect in my eyes, playing a strong playmaking game as a center.
But I suppose that’s semantics. The Blues have acquired Leo, who is about as fundamentally-oriented as they come. He’s got good stickhandling, puck movement, and pretty good skating. While there is still a lot to be desired offensively, he’s shown he may just have the weapons to make something of his offensive game. On the defensive end, Lööf is a lot more sound. He’s aggressive and not scared of the corner battles. While nothing jaw-dropping, he’s proven to be incredibly reliable.
He’s not going to be a top-pairing defenseman but he does add a level of insurance and reliability that teams desperately look for in the middle-rounds. This isn’t a bad pick at all but with guys like Michael Benning and Brett Berard available, there’s definitely a level of uncertainty. But Lööf’s ability to provide reliable defense won him the selection, I’m sure. He’ll be a very interesting name to follow. He could be the perfect bottom-pair guy for the Blues in the future, looking a lot like Carl Gunnarsson in more ways than one.
Dylan Peterson (C)
86th Overall // My Pick: Zion Nybeck (LW/RW)
Ceiling: Top-Six Center ; Floor: Bottom-Six Defense-Specialist
Peterson is a damn steal.
This pick needs to be gawked at by Blues fans. There were a LOT of very good wingers available at 86th overall but the Blues have come out and stated that they simply aren’t in the market for wings. So instead, the team went out and nabbed the without-a-doubt best center available.
Peterson is a 6’4” giant of a player. If I had to sum up his game... well, that’s the one sentence that I’d say. He’s everything you want from a player of that stature. He boasts great defensive ability, using his size and notable strength to his advantage. They allow him to be a dominant presence in the defensive end, easily fighting off opposition. He’s great one-on-one and one of the most reliable defensive-forwards in this year’s draft; especially outside of the first round.
Where Peterson needs to improve is on offense. He has good passing and works in transition better than his size would indicate, allowing him an admirable playmaking presence He’s also got a very hard shot but controls it well. But he doesn’t use his shot nearly enough. It feels like, with a bit more confidence in his offense, Peterson could really net a scoring upside.
And, really, that can be said about Peterson as a whole. With a bit more confidence, he could become something special. He’s definitely looking like an early-steal at pick 86. It feels like he isn’t fully aware of everything that his size allows him to do, though. He’s still finding his way with this shot, strength, and defensive ability. But at the end of that learning process is a very respectable, well-rounded centerman whose ceiling is as a second-line player.
I had Peterson ranked 48th. The Blues got him at 86. That’s nuts. If he develops appropriately, he could be yet another terrific top-six center; and the successor to Ryan O’Reilly’s throne. But this development will take time. Expect this steal-of-a-pick to grow in the NCAA and AHL for three-ish years at least before becoming an NHL regular.