The St. Louis Blues entered the 2013 NHL Entry Draft with 6 picks. They left with 4 thanks to a couple moves by Doug Armstrong. Let's take a look at the prospects.
Tommy Vannelli D (2nd round, 47th overall)
An interesting pick to say the least. Almost every Blues fan was praying for Armstrong to snag a center at this position, someone like John Hayden, Jimmy Lodge, or even Bogdan Yakimov. Instead, Armstrong opted to go for the American puck moving defenseman who seems like a replica of last year's first round pick, Jordan Schmaltz. This pick had me puzzled. We need centers badly. We have a wealth of RHD and with Pietrangelo soon to be locked up, and Shattenkirk/Polak signed for a decent term, this pick wasn't necessary. It wasn't exactly filling a need, since we also had Schmaltz and Hakanpaa waiting in the pipelin, so the only logical reason for this pick was that Vannelli was the best player available. And you know what? He could be. Vannelli is a puck rushing defenseman with a high offensive IQ and with a terrific first pass. He is a bit of a project, but he'll have time to develop at the University of Michigan as most college kids tend to take the 3 year route. Maybe Armstrong thinks we won't be able to afford Pie and Shatty when Shatty's contract is up? In that case, having Schmaltz and Vannelli gives us some security in case Shattenkirk decides to go to UFA at the end of his newly signed 4 year deal. Nevertheless, the pick wasn't a bad one, but it didn't address our main needs.
William Carrier LW (2nd round, 57th overall)
My favorite pick of the draft. Carrier plays on an absolutely abysmal Cape Breton team, and is therefore depended on to contribute the majority of the offense. He missed a lot of the season due to an ankle injury which may have been why he dropped to 57. Projected at 50 on Bob McKenzie's rankings, I believe he has first round talent and was absolutely ecstatic when the Blues traded up to get him. McKenzie noted that Carrier was a player who had all the skills, but was missing the glue. That's a fair assessment, judging by some youtube videos of Carrier, he definitely has good speed and size, with above average hands. Carrier is eligible to play in the AHL after one more season in juniors, and I honestly think he might be able to crack our roster, essentially skipping over the minors. He's oozing with talent, and should he be traded next year to a stronger team, his offensive numbers could explode.
Zach Pochiro LW (4th round, 122th overall)
Armstrong also traded up to get this kid, a move that is a bit questionable. Pochiro is a scrappy player who doesn't have a lot of offensive potential. He can fight and hit, but that's really all he's useful for in my opinion. Maybe because he was born in St. Louis, Armstrong decided to take him. I'm not a fan of this pick at all, and to add insult to injury, he's not even a center.
Santeri Saari D (6th round, 173rd overall)
Not a lot of info on this pick. He's a LHD which is a nice change. Decent size. Seems like our scouting department likes Finnish defensemen, adding Saari to the likes of Hakanpaa, Eronen, and Lindbohm. I'm not particularly familiar with Saari so I can't make an in-depth analysis on this pick, but one thing I do know, he's not a center either.
So at the end of the day, Armstrong decided to not draft a center altogether. Someone show him our prospect chart where Phil McRae is our best center prospect at the moment. That's embarrassing. Hopefully Armstrong has some tricks up his sleeve in the coming week, our center position still needs to be addressed. Blues are in on Lecavalier apparently, what a pick up he would be, get on it Army.
Till next time folks.