After day one of the draft, the St. Louis Blues have landed three forwards and a defenseman.
1st round, 30th overall, Jeff Taffe C
In the first round, the Blues opted for center Jeff Taffe from the University of Minnesota who was ranked 10th among NA Skaters by Central Scouting and was named Minnesota’s Rookie of the Year this season. Taffe was one of the strongest players on the US national junior team this year, recording five points in seven games. At 6’1.5, 180 lbs, Taffe is not a huge center but will remind many of Marty Reasoner. Central Scouting calls Taffe “a smooth skater with good speed and acceleration….a very smart player who understands the game and his positional play…an exceptional puckhandler who excels in one-on-one situations…has a good wrist shot with a quick release…very strong on faceoffs…often used on the power play…an aggressive forechecker.” Taffe was born on February 19, 1981 in Hastings, Minnesota.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 U of Minnesota WCHA 34 9 10 19 16
1998-99 Hastings H.S. USHSW 25 38 48 86 26
2nd round, 65th overall, David Morrisset RW
With the Blues second round pick, they opted for another forward and
this time around they selected a right winger which they are in desperate
need of. David Morisset is also 6’1.5 but heavier then Taffe at 195 lbs.
Ranked 59th on the CSS Mid-Term Report, his final ranking was 40th … Read more »
No surprise’s in Expansion
There was very little doubt about who was going to be chosen off the Oilers roster in this years Expansion Draft. Centerman Jim Dowd went to the Minnesota Wild and Swede defenseman Bert Robertsson was picked up by Columbus.
With the loss of these two players someone will have too fill the void as a checking line center and pesky number six defenseman. However, there are a few prospects that could come up and fill the void, and the possibility is still there to pick up a free agent that does not hurt the pocket book. Although Jimmy Dowd had success on the fourth line this season ,with his linemates Boyd Devereaux and George Laraque, that would have changed due to the injury to Boyd at the end of the season that might end his playing career.
On defense their is a few young defensemen ready to take Bert’s spot and leaving one or both of them in the farm team again for another year may not be healthy for the development and confidence of the players. But the loss of two character players is still too bad and I wish them both success with their new teams just not at the expense of Edmonton.
Draft Day Craziness
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After Jeff Jackson was fired, Mike Eaves was the prime candidate to take his job and he is now the USA NTDP’s Under 18 Coach. Eaves approach to his new job is this, my assistants and I will set goals, work towards the goals, and make sure we are having fun. Mike’s son Patrick, who is one of the top 84’s in the country is following his dad out there and will be playing for the Under 17 team. Some of the players Eaves has high expectations of include Eric Nystrom, Dwight Helminen, Justin Maiser, Brian McConnell, Barry Tallackson, and newcomers Jesse Lane and Ryan Whitney. “I haven’t seen much of the team yet, only on a few tapes and from talking to scouts,” Eaves said. Expect the Under 18 team to have a strong year in the USHL and turn some heads during international competition.
Also of note Keith Allain has been rumored to be the new USA National Junior Coach but no official announcement has come from USA Hockey. USA Hockey must come up with a coach soon because of the National Junior Camp set for August as they need to invite the top players to Lake Placid for the camp.
The Minnesoata Wild Selected both goaltender Jamie McLellan and winger ScottPellerin. Both players should be solid contributors with the Wild this upcoming season. McLellan has proven himself as a solid NHL backup and Pellerin is a great checking forward. With a drop in production from last season when Pelly scored 20 goals, the blues elected to expose him and as expected the Wild jumped at the opportunity.
Many side deals have taken place throughout the day and many may still be in the making. For the blues, they must now focus on signing the two significant UFA’s, Tyson Nash and Mike Eastwood. The two are likely to recieve significant raises due their importance with the Blues organization and even more importance now since Pellerin has been lost.
In terms of Blues prospects, it looks like Brent Johnson will get a crack at the back-up job with the big club. There are rumors floating around stating that the blues may sign a veteran goalie in terms of insurance in the event of a call up due to injuries to Turek or Johnson. Cody Rudkowsky would be the third string and is certainly not ready for the jump to the big club as he had a so-so season as a backup to Johnson in Worcester.
The blues oragnization have stated on many occasions that they will be active in the free agent market come July 1st but for now, Draft day lies ahead of us. Read more »