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St. Louis Blues sign first-round picks T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues on Tuesday signed a pair of first-round picks from recent drafts, forwards T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller.

Oshie, 21, was the 24th overall selection of the 2005 draft. He had delayed signing while helping North Dakota reach three consecutive NCAA Frozen Fours, including the 2007 tournament in St. Louis. Eller, 19, was the 13th pick of the 2007 draft.

"I am happy that the Blues have been patient with me over the past couple of years," Oshie said. "I am now ready and proud to wear the Blue Note next season."

The Blues are expected to go with youth next season after missing the playoffs for the third straight season. Oshie could figure in the team's immediate plans.

Defenceman Erik Johnson, the first overall pick in 2006, was a regular in 2007-08 as a 19-year-old rookie and forward David Perron, a first-rounder who'll be 20 later this month, played in 62 games. Johnson had five goals and 28 assists in 69 games and Perron, perhaps the team's most skilled forward, had 13 goals and 14 assists despite often playing with checking-type linemates.

"We are happy to have T.J. and Lars in the fold as both players will be important assets for this hockey club as we move forward," team president John Davidson said.

The six-foot, 192-pound Oshie, a centre from Everett, Wash., was among 10 Hobey Baker Award finalists this season while leading North Dakota with 45 points on 18 goals and 27 assists in 42 games. In three college seasons, he totalled 142 points on 59 goals and 83 assists in 129 games.

The 6-1, 198-pound Eller had three goals and three assists for Denmark at the 2008 World Junior Championships and had two assists for his country in the recent 2008 World Championships.

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