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Draft Preview: St. Louis Blues – Moody blues do a 180

Just when it looked like the ground was going to shake, St. Louis finds stability.

By mid-season, the Blues were flopping and reportedly entertaining some foundation-shifting trades as potential sellers. Then they got white-hot, held onto stars such as Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko and crusaded to the playoffs. Instead of blowing it up, GM Doug Armstrong is positioned to add pieces to a team on the rise.

IMMEDIATE NEEDS: The Blues boast exciting prospects at forward. Robert Thomas stuck with the big club, Jordan Kyrou bounced back and forth, Klim Kostin was great at the WJC and Dominik Bokk looks like a steal at 25th overall. St. Louis isn’t certain any of these youngsters will become high-impact offensive players next season, though, so acquiring a veteran goal-scorer would help.

LONG-TERM NEEDS: Pietrangelo enters the final season of his deal, and Jay Bouwmeester has reached his twilight years, so the Blues have to work out a succession plan on defense. Scott Perunovich cracked Future Watch’s top 100 (No. 83). Armstrong doesn’t have a first-round pick in June. He surrendered it in the absolutely-worth-it Ryan O’Reilly trade.

CAP SITUATION: The Blues have a few important RFAs to extend. Do they commit to a long-term contract for breakout rookie goalie Jordan Binnington? Or, given the small sample size, are they better off shooting for a bridge contract? Rugged defenseman Joel Edmundson has earned himself a long-term deal. Both should sign for a combined cap hit of $10 million or less. The Blues already have $64.5 million committed to 15 players, so they won’t have much money left to pursue upgrades if Armstrong plans to re-sign UFA winger Patrick Maroon.

IN THE SYSTEM 2019-20: The speedy Kyrou lit up major junior last year and led the Blues’ AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, in scoring in his first pro season. With little left to accomplish on the farm, he should jump to the Blues permanently in 2019-20.

DID YOU KNOW: Bokk has risen up in the Swedish League but is German-born. He’s the sixth German in NHL history drafted in the first round and the second in 18 years.

LATE-ROUND GEMS:
(2000-2018 drafts)
Ben Bishop, 85th, ’05
Lee Stempniak, 148th, ’03
Colton Parayko, 86th, ’12
Roman Polak, 180th, ’04
Ryan Reaves, 156th, ’05
Jori Lehtera, 65th, ’08
Petr Cajanek, 253rd, ’01
Nikita Nikitin, 136th, ’04
Anthony Peluso, 160th, ’07
D.J. King, 190th, ’02

PICKS AFTER SECOND ROUND: 106
100+ NHL GAMES: 10
PERCENT SUCCESS: 9.4%
NHL RANK: 26th

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