Going into the 2011 draft, many of the Blues' top prospects could be found playing either in Europe or in the AHL. However this past June, GM Doug Armstrong made a number of picks from major junior ranks, focusing especially on the Western Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior League.
Ty Rattie, RW, Portland Winterhawks
Acquired: 2nd round (32nd overall) in 2011
Now in his fourth season with Portland, Rattie is having a huge season with 33 goals and 29 assists in just 33 games. Playing on a line with his roommate and Calgary Flames' first round (2011) pick Sven Bartschi, the slender but slick forward has helped lead Portland to second place in the U.S. Division of the WHL. The key to Rattie's growth, either in WHL action this season or in the future, is to develop the strength, moves, and awareness to be able to overcome physical pressure from opponents. Rattie has joined fellow Blues prospect Jaden Schwartz (Colorado College, WCHA) in receiving a coveted invite to December's Team Canada selection camp for the 2012 World Juniors. Rattie however ultimately missed the final cut for the WJCs and was returned to Portland.
Cody Beach, RW, Moose Jaw Warriors
Acquired: 5th round (134th overall) in 2010
Beach is averaging over a point a game with 26 (seven goals and 19 assists) in 26 contests for the Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold first place in the WHL's East Division. Perhaps more important, the towering winger has logged 99 penalty minutes, playing his typical agitating, physical style. Beach has dropped the gloves six times this season, clearly winning all but one: a quick, uneventful dance with Tyler Hart of the Prince Albert Raiders.
Joel Edmundson, D, Moose Jaw Warriors
Acquired: 2nd round (46th overall) in 2011
Joining Moose Jaw teammate and roommate Cody Beach as a Blues prospect this past summer, Edmundson has been limited to 22 games by a high ankle sprain suffered while playing for the Blues at the Traverse City Prospects' Tourney. Edmundson has one goal, six assists, and is minus-five with 39 penalty minutes. Edmundson has been playing with a variety of partners, including at times Rangers' and Dylan McIlrath and Jets' prospects Kendall McFaull.
Jordan Binnington, G, Owen Sound Attack
Acquired: 3rd round (88th overall) in 2011
Binnington split time last season with older, oft-injured Rangers' prospect Scott Stajcer, helping lead the Attack to the OHL championship. This season, the duo has backstopped the Attack to a current third place standing in the OHL Midwest Division. Binnington has struggled to improve on better statistics from last season going 11-9-0 thus far, with a 3.54 goals against average and .883 save percentage. Binnington was named "Attacker of The Week" by Owen Sound after a 30 save performance in the team's 5-2 victory over Sarnia.
Brock Beukeboom, D, Niagara Ice Dogs
Acquired: Trade with Tampa Bay, February 18th, 2011
Beukeboom's rights have been traded twice in the last year, going from Tampa Bay to the Blues in the Eric Brewer trade, and from Sault Ste. Marie to Niagara in a June 2011 OHL deal. Beukeboom sat out a number of games early in the season due to a back injury, debuting on October 27th. Thus far in his fourth OHL season, the son of former NHL blueliner Jeff Beukeboom has a goal and seven assists and is a solid plus-11 for the Ice Dogs, who are tied for second place in the OHL's Eastern Division.
Stephen MacAulay, C, Saint John Sea Dogs
Acquired: 6th round (164th overall) in 2010
Drafted a year before fellow St. John Sea Dog and Blues prospect Ryan Tesink, MacAulay is off to a decent start this year in the QMJHL, with eight goals and 15 assists in 31 games. He is also plus-13. MacAulay has been playing on a line with Tesink this year, as well as some with Danick Gauthier, who is having a huge overage season with 31 goals.
Ryan Tesink , LW, Saint John Sea Dogs
Acquired: 6th round (162nd overall) in 2011
After battling for playing time among a talent-rich Saint John roster last season, Tesink showed noticeable hustle and effort for the Blues' team in the Traverse City Prospects' Tourney this summer. This season, he continued his strong play, averaging a point per game (eight goals and 17 assists through 20 games) this season with the Sea Dogs, highlighted by a four assist game (setting up two goals for MacAulay) on October 8th versus Rimouski. Tesink is also a stellar plus-19. His season is on hiatus for at least a few more weeks after a knee injury sustained in late November. He has since undergone surgery and is expected to miss four to six weeks.
Yannick Veilleux, LW, Shawinigan Cataractes
Acquired: 4th round (102nd overall) in 2011
Projected as a grinder in the NHL, Veilleux is currently fourth in scoring for the Cataractes, who hold second place in the QMJHL East Division, with 17 goals and 14 assists in 31 games. He is also plus-eight. Veilleux has shown some nice chemistry this season with regular linemate and Canucks prospect Pierre-Olivier Morin.
Max Gardiner, C/W, Dubuque Fighting Saints
Acquired: 3rd round (74 overall) in 2010 NHL Entry Draft
The younger brother of Maple Leafs rookie defenseman Jake Gardiner, Max left the University of Minnesota at the end of the 2010-11 season and joined the Dubuque Fighting Saints under the promise of more ice time. For the Fighting Saints, Gardiner has played a power forward role. In 18 games with Dubuque (USHL), playing primarily with elite Latvian prospect Zemgus Girgensons, he has four goals, three assists and a plus-two rating.