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»
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»
That would be a nice headline for Blues fans to read on Sunday morning in St. Louis. So what if the “Note” doesn’t
have a high pick in the first round, does it really matter? The Blues have notoriously had bad luck when it comes to
their first selection, whether it is in first round or not. In the past thirteen years there have been forgettable names
such as Stephane Roy, Maxim Bets, Steve Staios, Craig Johnson, defenseman Jason Marshall with the 9th pick in
’89, and Keith Osborne. Not exactly a great track record. However, history has shown that the Blues have a knack
for finding that elusive needle in the haystack when it comes to late round picks. Rookie playoff sensation Jochen
Hecht was taken 49th overall in ’95. Michael Grier, now in Edmonton, was the 219th pick in 1993. Bret Hedican was
chosen 198th in ’88, and Guy Hebert was taken with the 159th pick in ’87. And let’s not forget top prospect Ladislav
Nagy was chosen 177th in the 1997 Draft. So Ted Hampson, Director of Amateur Scouting, has pulled a few rabbits
out of his hat. If only Hampson could pull off some of his magic in the first round, now that would be a trick.
Let’s first take a look at the top 10 players that may be available when the Blues are ready to select. Left winger
Tomas Kurka has great speed and scoring potential, which puts him at the top of the list. Having seen the Blues draft Read more»
The St. Louis Blues announced yesterday that they have signed defenseman Alexander Khavanov, a 1999 8th round draft pick. Khavanov
is 28 years old, stands 6ft. 2in. tall and weighs 190 pounds. He played last season for a Dynamo Moscow team that won their first ever
Russian Elite League Championship. Khavanov recorded 5 goals and 12 assists, good for 17 points, in the regular season.
The Blues also signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Vladimir Chebaturkin. He has good size at 6-2, 226 pounds, and is 25 years
old. Chebaturkin played in the AHL last season for the Lowell Lock Monsters and racked up 1 goal and 8 assists while adding 113 penalty
minutes. He was voted the teams most valuable defensive player of the year. Vladimir also has played in the NHL for the New York Islanders.
He played in 17 games this past season and recorded 1 goal and 1 assist with 8 penalty minutes.
No doubt these two moves are an effort to shore up the depth in the organization as the Blues will lose a defenseman in the expansion draft.
The Blues decided to protect both goaltender Brent Johnson and defenseman Bryce Salvador. In another surprise defenseman Jeff Finley was
left unprotected. Some other interesting names that were left off of the protected list were Scott Pellerin, Tyson Nash, and Reed Low. Here is
a complete look at the both protected players and unprotected.
Craig Conroy C Read more»
After studying hard for 2 years, GM Larry Pleau came to a conclusion concerning the draft class of 1998. The crop of young talent that everyone gets excited about on draft day, just never materialized. Christian Backman has not improved like the Blues had envisioned, Maxim Linnik is a bust in every sense of the word, Brad Voth?, what was that? The jury is still out on Andrei Trochinsky, however, the Blues still own his rights. Brad Twordik didn’t show enough to warrant a pro contract so he is gone as well. The best player may be, John Pohl, who was the last player drafted with the 255th pick. He will be in his junior year at the University of Minnesota next season.
Out of the eight players chosen, the Blues signed one. Defenseman Matt Walker, who attended training camp last fall, showed enough improvement this season to draw some attention his way. At 6-2, 222 pounds, Walker has good size. Playing for Kootenay in the WHL, Matt has made great strides this year both defensively and offensively. After training camp, he will return to Kootenay for his last season of junior hockey.
Christian Backman may turn into a serviceable player someday, but that day will not be this year. Backman, who’s name has been mentioned in numerous trades, may not get his chance with the Bluenote or even Worcester. The Blues want him to sign a contract and play in North America next season, however, he has shown little interest in doing so. If Backman comes to camp this season it will be a miracle.