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2015 Draft Preview - St. Louis Blues playing with house money

Matt Larkin
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Robby Fabbri (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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2015 Draft Preview - St. Louis Blues playing with house money

Matt Larkin
By:

The St. Louis Blues have everything. They’re as deep as any team in the sport at every position, and a few of their best drafted youngsters haven’t even reached the NHL yet. GM Doug Armstrong thus has the freedom to pick any high-ceiling player who falls to him at any position.

The St. Louis Blues have everything. They’re as deep as any team in the sport at every position, and a few of their best drafted youngsters haven’t even reached the NHL yet. St. Louis’ needs are more about veteran experience than anything they have to nab at the draft table. GM Doug Armstrong thus has the freedom to pick any high-ceiling player who falls to him at any position.

PICKS:
Round 2, pick 56
Round 4, picks 94, 116
Round 5, picks 127, 146
Round 6, pick 176

SHORT-TERM NEEDS:
The only tangible thing the Blues need is veteran support on defense, depending on what happens with UFAs Barret Jackman and Zbynek Michalek. More than anything, the Blues need intangibles like leadership and Stanley Cup experience. Their 2014-15 roster had no one who’d played in a final, let alone a Cup winner. Pursuing an accomplished UFA like Justin Williams makes sense.

LONG-TERM NEEDS:
The Blues have a solid trio of D-men signed through 2016-17 or later in Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester and Kevin Shattenkirk. With Jackman being allowed to walk, St. Louis must develop some mean, gritty customers on the blueline, especially after trading Roman Polak last summer.

CAP SITUATION:
The Blues don’t have a ton of breathing room even with Jackman departing. Star sniper Vladimir Tarasenko’s entry-level deal ends, so he’ll sign a massive long-term extension or a bridge deal. Either way, he’s getting a big raise. Same goes for goaltender Jake Allen, also an RFA.

IN THE SYSTEM 2015-16:
Dmitrij Jaskin became a full-time NHLer this year, and the Blues have several more scoring forwards on the precipice. Ty Rattie is the closest, having proven he can score in the AHL, though 2014 draftees Robby Fabbri and Ivan Barbashev have higher ceilings and could leapfrog Rattie with strong camp showings.

DID YOU KNOW:
The Schmaltz family has yielded two first-rounders in the past three drafts. St. Louis took defenseman Jordan 25th in 2012, and Chicago nabbed younger brother, Nick, a center, 20th in 2014. The two were teammates with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers and are back together with the University of North Dakota.

THN will be releasing its Team Reports from Draft Preview for each of the 30 NHL franchises in the week leading up to the NHL Draft. Read them in our “Draft” channel.

 

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2015 Draft Preview - St. Louis Blues playing with house money