The St. Louis Blues are a team in need of scoring and the 2013 NHL Entry Draft is a chance for them to find top end talent for the long haul.
Although the Blues roster seems to be littered with first round picks, the team has struggled to live up to the expectations that have been placed on them. The fanbase has grown tired of hearing how players are still developing and are now beginning to wonder if some of these said-to-be-stars will ever truly develop.
Even St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong seems to be thinking it is time for a change in the gateway city:
This is a public cry that for any GMs that have any 50-goal scorers that want to just send them to St. Louis, give me a call. I spent the last two days going over the top 20 scorers the last few years, and most of them are drafted by their own teams. Reality is with free agency the way it is now, teams tie up those elusive top-end goal scorers. If I can find a guy that can come in and help us score goals, certainly we’re going to look at doing it. But to think that that player is out there and teams say, ‘Geez, it’s St. Louis’ time to win, we’ll give you (Alex) Ovechkin,’ you’ve got to deal in reality.
While Armstrong jokingly asked all of the GM’s in the NHL for their top scorers, his real point was that the only way to find a league leading scorer in the modern NHL is to draft them. If the Blues are looking to draft top end talent, this could be the year that it is possible.
All of the teams with the top five picks in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft have mentioned that they would be willing to part with their pick for the right package, but do the Blue have anything that they could offer to get that deal done?
Well, given that St. Louis does not have a first round pick this season, it is very unlikely. With Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk both being restricted free agents, along with Chris Stewart and Patrik Berglund, Armstrong could make a package deal and possibly grab a top pick. With the price being what it is for one of those picks, the Blues would have to sacrifice the present for the future. So basically, don’t count on it. Armstrong is not going to mortgage the farm for a player that might develop into the next Sidney Crosby or John Tavares.
So what can the Blues hope to do in this year’s draft?
Well, the St. Louis Blues will have six selections at the 2013 NHL Draft. The Blues traded their first round pick away in the deal that brought defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to the Blues. The Blues also traded their second round pick along with their fifth round pick for defenseman Jordan Leopold.
Don’t worry your pretty little heads though, the Blues do have a second round pick that was acquired from the Ottawa Senators last season in the deal that sent Ben Bishop to the great white north. Little did the Blues know what they could have gotten for Bishop this season, but that is a completely different story all together.
So going in to the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Blues will have the following picks:
Round 2 – No. 47 (from Ottawa)
Round 3 – No. 83
Round 4 – No. 94 (from Tampa Bay)
Round 4 – No. 113
Round 6 – No. 173
Round 7 – No. 203
Although it may seem like a disadvantage now, the Blues do have the chance to move up in the draft or acquire additional top end picks. There has been talk of trading Jaroslav Halak, Ian Cole, Kris Russell, David Perron, Chris Stewart, and Patrik Berglund, all of whom could command a first round pick in return. The problem is, with all of the rumors that have surrounded the Blues trading future few have any real ground to stand on.
If Armstrong is going to make the move that everyone sees coming, it could mean sending Russell away for good. If the Blues were lucky, they would get a first rounder for Russell.
Considering that the Blues have their own issues to deal with this offseason, who could the Blues pick up with their current picks?
Well one player that could be overlooked would be Taylor Cammarata. There is a lot going against young Cammarata, but does the good outweigh the bad?
This season alone, Cammarata led the USHL with 38 goals and 93 points, so why haven’t you heard of him? Well there is one major problem; his size.
Today’s NHLers seem to be the same size as football players, but Cammarata comes in at just 5’7″ and 154 pounds. Yes, he is really that small, but does that matter much when his skill level is so high?
The Blues have been known to take a natural goal scorer in the draft that might not have NHL size, for example Ty Rattie, and could use a player who has an eye for the net.
Cammarata managed to be the USHL Rookie of the Year, USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year, USHL – USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Selection, USHL First All-Star Team, USHL Forward of the Year and USHL Player of the Year while putting up the most goals in the USHL, 38, and most points in the USHL, 93.
Sounding a little better to you? It should be. The USHL is a tough league in which players struggle to reach the point-per-game pace, the same pace that Cammarata has surpassed in a major way. Still, Cammarata will most likely be overlooked by most teams because he is the size of some middle schoolers.
I hope the Blues take a look at the kid though as he seems to have the drive to make it to the NHL. If the Blues are willing to take a chance on Rattie, although he makes Cammarata look like an infant in comparison, they should take a risk this time around as well.
Still, there is no telling if Cammarata will still be available when the Blues pick in the second round, but I sure hope he is.
Who do you think the Blues have on their radar for the draft? Let us know in the comments below.
LET’S GO BLUES!