I know the draft was a few weeks ago, but since it hasn’t been discussed here at Bleedin’ Blue yet, I thought we should take a look. As I was watching the draft live, I have to admit I was scratching my head at the top 2 picks for St. Louis. Both of the guys they took were pretty low on most boards, but after doing a little more research, I’m really starting to like what the Blues did. Here is a rundown of the picks and a little info on each player.
First Round (14)-Jaden Schwartz (USHL)
Schwartz was pegged by many as a late first-rounder, but the kid wowed the Blues with his offensive prowess. He had a monster season with Tri-City, as he led the league in scoring 83 points (33-50) in just 60 games played. He is undersized, but he is a magician with the puck, and the Blues obviously think he could be a special talent. He is set to enroll at Colorado College in the fall, and he should spend some time playing there before joining up with St. Louis.
First Round (16)-Vladimir Tarasenko (KHL)
I was shocked by this pick, not only because of the player, but because the team traded former first-rounder David Rundblad. For any of you out there who are avid followers of the World Junior Tournament like me, you probably saw the same thing as me. Rundblad looked like he didn’t belong much of the time, especially against the USA squad. He struggled throughout the entire tournament, and I have to think that had to play a role in the Blues’ willingness to give him up. Now, on to Tarasenko. Much like Schwartz, Tarasenko wasn’t high on many boards, but he has the talent to justify the pick. Dubbed as the “Russian Tank”, Tarasenko is a sniper with playmaking ability who is excited to make his mark in the NHL. He tied for the team lead in goals at the World Juniors with 4, and he was third on the team with 5 points. Bringing in Russian talent is an excellent move for the Blues.
Second Round (44)-Sebastian Wannstrom (Sweden)
Wannstrom did a little bit of everything for Brynas Junior in Sweden’s Junior Elite League, as he led the league with 30 goals and 57 points and registered 57 penalty minutes in 30 games played. He saw time in 18 games with Brynas of the Swedish Elite League, and he registered two penalty minutes. He is only 19 years old, and he showed an ability to impact the game on several levels in the junior league. He is probably a few years away from being ready for St. Louis, but I like the pick.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the draft recap, where I will run down the rest of the picks. If anyone has any opinions of these picks by the Blues, leave comments in the section and tell us what you think.