St. Louis Blues 2011 draft review

By Chris Roberts

The St. Louis Blues were without a first round pick in the 2011 draft, but with three second round sections the club was able to add some promising prospects. Their first selection, Ty Rattie, put up impressive numbers for Portland of the WHL and was ranked as the 17th best North American skater by Central Scouting. The club also strengthened their already impressive standing between the pipes, selecting two goaltenders – Jordan Binnington and Niklas Lundstrom.

Ty Rattie, RW – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
2nd Round, 32nd Overall
Height: 6'0 Weight: 167 lbs

At just 167 lbs, Ty Rattie makes up for his lack of size with creativity and elusiveness, particularly when the puck is on his stick in the offensive zone. His goal scoring ability has improved over the past two years – he scored 28 goals this past season – but it is his playmaking abilities and on-ice vision that defines his game. His 51 assists were second highest on the Winterhawks, just one below Ryan Johansen's 52.

Rattie was listed as the 17th best skater in North America in Central Scouting's final rankings, but was high as 11th in the midterm rankings. Concerns over his size, skating, and the fact that he put up the numbers he did on one of the top teams in the CHL are likely responsible for Rattie falling to the second round. However, the Alberta native is committed to an intense off-season workout regiment in hopes of adding weight, and he'll return to Portland next season where there will be even more expected out of him with the likely departure of Ryan Johansen.

Dmitri Jaskin, RW – Slavia (CZE)
2nd Round, 41st Overall
Height: 6'2 Weight: 196 lbs

At 6'2 and hovering around 200 lbs, Jaskin fits the mold of a power-forward. He isn't the most physical player but by no means is he soft. He's got offensive potential, but one of the more impressive aspects of Jaskin's game is his defensive play – he seems to always be in the right location in the defensive zone and uses his body effectively to knock opposition players off the puck.

This past season playing for Slavia in Czech Republic, Jaskin recorded 10 points in 33 games. He has been referred to by some as a streaky player and there are some scouts that believe motivation could be a problem for him, but the tools are certainly there; if he can put it all together over the next few years, he could be a top-six forward in the NHL.

Joel Edmundson, D – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
2nd Round, 46th Overall
Height: 6'4 Weight: 200 lbs

A towering defenseman, Joel Edmundson has the physical tools to be a shutdown defenseman at the NHL level, yet he is still a fairly raw prospect and likely several years away. The 2010-11 season was his first in the CHL and was an up-and-down ride to say the least. In his first 29 games he recorded just two assists, but as his minutes increased so did his production – he registered 18 points in the next 32 games. Yet, after that stretch, including the playoffs Edmundson finished the season on an 18 game pointless streak. He'll begin next season as one of Moose Jaw's top defenseman, and if he can improve his foot speed and maintain his steady defensive zone play, he could be a premier shutdown defenseman in the WHL.

Jordan Binnington, G – Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
3rd Round, 88th Overall
Height: 6'2 Weight: 160 lbs

Jordan Binnington had a rollercoaster year to say the least for the OHL champion Owen Sound Attack. He had a great training camp and was able to start in the majority of the team's regular season games, posting 27 victories and a 3.05 goals against average, but after surrendering five goals in a first round playoff loss he was sent to the bench where he would stay until May 12th when his team was one loss away from losing in the OHL finals. Binnington, the apparent goalie of the future for Owen Sound, came in and sparked the team with back-to-back wins to capture the OHL championship. Those two games were perhaps his best of the season – he stopped 66 of 70 shots – and, along with his play in the Memorial Cup, certainly helped his stock at the draft. His game is tailored around his impressive positioning between the pipes, but at just 160 lbs he often leaves gaping openings for shooters to find. He could afford to add a few pounds to his 6'2 frame.

Yannick Veilleux, LW – Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
4th Round, 102nd Overall
Height: 6'1 Weight: 187 lbs

Veilleux had a slow start to his QMJHL career two seasons ago but broke out last season. In 68 games, he scored 19 goals and added 29 assists for 48 points. Much like the Blues second round pick Dmitri Jaskin, Veilleux has the potential to be a power forward if he ever makes the NHL. He's a big body with a hard, accurate shot and improving playmaking skills. With Shawinigan's top two point producers from last season ineligible to return for the 2011-12 season, Veilleux will no doubt be expected to drastically increase his point totals once again.

Niklas Lundstrom, G – AIK J20 (SWE)
5th Round, 132nd Overall
Height: 6'2 Weight: 179 lbs

Having already selected Jordan Binnington in the third round, the Blues surprised many by selecting another goaltender in the fifth round – Niklas Lundstrom. Being in Sweden and having spent the majority of his time in the junior program, Lundstrom is more of a long-term project that the organization hopes pays dividends a few years down the line. In 22 games last season at the under-20 level, Lundstrom posted a 3.05 goals against average and .891 save percentage. While he showed he very much belonged at that level, he was noticeably out of place in the one game he started for AIK at the Elitserien level, surrendering five goals on just 23 shots before being pulled in the third period; given that, he'll likely begin the 2011-12 season at the under-20 level.

Ryan Tesink, LW – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
6th Round, 162nd Overall
Height: 6'0 Weight: 161 lbs

For what Ryan Tesink lacks in size he makes up for in work ethic. The winger spent the majority of his rookie season in the QMJHL as a bottom-six player on the Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs, but he certainly didn't go unnoticed. In fact, despite limited ice-time for much of the year, Central Scouting ranked Tesink as the 47th best skater in North America largely due to his unquestionable work effort and his foot speed. Though he only scored eight goals in 59 games, he dished out 27 assists as his playmaking abilities flourished throughout the season. The Sea Dogs will largely stay intact next season so Tesink will have to continue to fight for top-six ice time.

Teemu Eronen, D – Jokerit (SM-liiga)
7th Round, 192nd Overall
Height: 5'10 Weight: 180 lbs

The St. Louis Blues went off the board with their seventh round pick, taking a low-risk gamble on twenty-one-year-old Finnish defenseman. He isn't the most physical defenseman but he's somewhat of an offensive threat, especially on the power-play. He's registered 25 points over the past two seasons in 81 games. It is likely that Jarmo Kekalainen, the Blues former director of scouting and current coach for Jokerit, had a hand in this selection.