The St. Louis Blues have a decent track record of finding gems late in the first round when you think about T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund, and David Perron each taken between 24-26 overall. One can only hope Jordan Schmaltz continues the trend.
The first word when talking to people who truly know the kid is potential. There’s no doubt he’s loaded with upside but he has some growing to do before he’s penciled into the Blues lineup.
Bill Armstrong and his staff are intrigued by his skill and ability to make plays with the puck. In a day and age when transition D-men are at a premium the Blues are excited to watch him develop. That process begins next season at the University of North Dakota.
At 6’2 190 pounds he has some work to put into his body. There’s no doubt he’ll need to make some size, strength, and speed adjustments at the NCAA level. From a pure, raw, natural ability the tools are there. He sees the ice well, has good hockey sense and can snap the puck out of his own end. Schmaltz brings a level of patience scouts like and coaches love. Although he’s not considered a great skater, those close to him in the USHL refer to him as sneaky fast. The limitations he might have don’t prevent him from finding his way around the ice. He can quarterback the PP and has a track record of producing points, something they’ll ask him to continue to do at the next level.
Some scouting services knock him for his lack of physicality but he’s able to compensate with hockey smarts. Much like current Blue Alex Pietrangelo, he uses his stick well to defend and takes good angles to separate opponents from the puck.
Schmaltz cut his teeth with the Chicago Mission and is familiar to many who follow youth hockey. A native of Verona, Wisconsin he traveled two hours each way several times a week to play in Chicago. His brother Nick is expected to follow in his brother’s footsteps and play in Green Bay next season before attending North Dakota where he’s verbally committed. The OHL is certainly an option for Nick as well should he choose to go in that direction. He was selected by the Windsor Spitfires this past April.
Some compare Jordan Schmaltz to Phoenix Coyotes All-Star Keith Yandle. He’ll attend USA’s world junior selection camp later this summer in hopes of landing a spot on the 2013 roster.
This is a case where Doug Armstrong is putting all his trust in his staff considering he’s never seen Schmaltz play. The NHL awards show in Las Vegas prevented him from participating in the interview process.
Schmaltz began his USHL career with Sioux City who are owned by current Blues investor Donn Lux.
All in all the Blues interviewed around 60 players.
The Blues selected Kurker in the second round out of St. John’s prep in Massachusetts. He’ll attend Boston University in the fall.
Kurker is described as a poor man’s David Backes with his ability to play on the inside, take a hit, and score. His 60 point season earned him first team All-State honors.
This is another example of how teams go off of their own list as a result of hours of research and homework. Good luck finding MacEachern’s name on many of the scouting services available. Much like Kurker, Maceachern is a power forward who brings a well balanced attack. Blues Director of Scouting Bill Armstrong says he’s a kid who brings it every shift and has a motor that doesn’t stop. You don’t find too many NHL prospects playing high school hockey in Michigan but that’s where the Blues found MacEachern who won a Division II state title his senior season. He’s committed to Michigan State but will play one season with the Chicago Steel in the USHL. I’m hearing several CHL teams are all over him including the London Knights which could lead to him bypassing the Spartans.
The Blues took Parayko with their second pick in the third round. He’s headed to University of Alaska in the fall after playing tier II in Alberta. The Blues knew about him in the summer and watched him play a tournament over in Europe. At 6’4 they like his size and hope he blossoms into the D-man they believe he can. Bill Armstrong says he can skate and move the puck and compares well to Jani Hakanpaa who they selected in the 4th round in 2010.
The Blues were surprised to see Walters still available this late in the draft. They obviously had him rated much higher than 116th. He’s an unpolished product but has some upside with his high compete level and ability to intimidate the opposition. He’s not considered a fighter but led all draft eligible defenseman with 11 fighting majors last year with Everett in the Western Hockey League. In other words he’s not looking for a fight but finds himself in the mix rather often. He’s been compared to current Blues D-man Roman Polak.
St. Louis made goaltender Francois Tremblay their fifth round selection. He’s played the last two seasons with Val d’Or Foreurs in the QMJHL. His numbers aren’t great but he’s seen a ton of shots over the last two years. He’s played more games than most goaltenders at this stage of his junior career. Word is he’s all business and was one of the more impressive players the Blues interviewed at the draft. St. Louis loves the way he carries himself. Scout Michelle Picard really pushed for the Blues to grab this kid.
The Blues made Finnish native Petteri Lindbohm the 176th overall selection in the sixth round. He’s an in your face D-man who played junior last season in Finland. He’s considered a tweener who’s ready to move on from his junior career but not quite ready for the elite league. He’s likely to play next season with the minor league affiliate of Jokerit in the Finnish Elite League. European scout Ville Siren tracked his progress throughout the year.
You’re kind of throwing darts once you get to this stage of the draft but the Blues feel there’s potential with Brandon forward Tyrel Seaman. He’s likely to attend training camp this fall along with Walters, and Tremblay. He was ranked 115 overall by International Scouting Service.
The Toronto, Philadelphia trade involving James Van Riemsdyk and Luke Schenn would have taken place much sooner had JVR not suffered an injury.
San Jose said no to Columbus at the trade deadline when they asked for Logan Couture in exchange for Rick Nash. They were told no once again at the draft as they asked for Couture a second time. Why would they give up Couture who scored more goals and points than Nash not to mention he makes about $5 million less?
One NHL Exec tells me he doesn’t believe Nash will be traded until after Zach Parise signs.
A cancellation date has been set for the Traverse City prospects tournament if the CBA isn’t resolved.
Several teams including the Blues had Flames first rounder Mark Jankowski rated very high. Scouts say he’s as talented and skilled as any player in the draft. Not sure why some of the Calgary media are criticizing Calgary for making this pick. He has bloodlines on both sides of the family with the legendary Red Kelly a relative on his Mother’s side. One can assume the Blues would have taken him if he was there at 25.
How was Filip Forsberg still there at number 11? Great pick for Washington.
There’s was some ongoing dialogue between Toronto and St. Louis involving NHL roster players.
There was nothing better than seeing the Subban family there to support Malcolm who went to Boston in the opening round. The emotion was evident on the face of older borther P.K.
The Blues won’t shy away from adding a heavy salary next month although it might take some creativity in terms of moving dollars out to make it happen. Jay Bouwmeester would be a nice fit although many question how driven he is. He gives you 26-28 minutes a night and produced decent offensive numbers in Florida. Everyone thought Brian Campbell’s days as an all-star were done.
Source close to Bouwmeester tells me the Flames have no tasked him to move his no trade clause.
Don’t expect the Blues to trade for any negotiating rights before July first.
St. Louis product Blake Clarke has made the top 30 list for the 2014 NHL draft. Clarke comes in at #12 with Ryan Macinnis sliding in at #16 and Nick Schmaltz at #20. This list will change over the the next two years.
Anyone notice Doug Armstrong’s recent comments regarding the Blues not being run by banks or the NHL anymore? We reported this over and over throughout the last two years and I’ll never understand why it was so widely ignored. The new Owners have inherited a financial disaster and we all know some work needs to be done to reverse the damage. With that said, there are plans behind the scenes to spend money but it'll be done in a responsible fashion.
More to come,
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