The St. Louis Blues added a couple players to the system in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft that might be able to contribute right away. They added some much-needed size up front to their organization. And, they finally get to look forward to a first round pick next year… assuming they don’t trade it before then.
1st Pick: Second Round, 48th Overall
Born: June 22, 1984 in Elektrostal, Russia
Player Info: Shkotov is known for being a swift skater and having an good overall hockey sense. He has great decision making skills and vision, but will have to add some size to his small frame to be successful at the NHL level.
Future: Since Shkotov won’t be eligible to play in the AHL until the 2004-05 season, he will likely continue playing in Russia until then.
Analysis: Shkotov, who is listed generously at 5’10, is small. The farm system is already full of players that are at a height disadvantage. But, they made up for it throughout the rest of the draft.
2nd Pick: Second Round, 62nd Overall
Born: November 26, 1983 in Kiev, Ukraine
Player Info: For a player that is 6’6, Mikhnov doesn’t weigh that much. Although Mikhnov’s best asset is his size, he has a decent scoring touch, averaging about a half point per game last season for Sudbury of the Ontario Hockey League.
Future: Mikhnov will return to the OHL, where he has two more seasons of eligibility remaining.
Analysis: This is where the Blues begin making up for picking a smaller forward with their first pick. The Blues did draft Mikhnov a little higher than he was expected to go, but at least they’re recognizing the lack of size in their farm system.
3rd Pick: Third Round, 89th Overall
Born: April 24,1984 in Presov, Slovakia
Player Info: Troliga has excellent size, plays tough and will be aggressive when he needs to. He is an intelligent player, with a solid skating ability for his size and has soft hands to dish out the puck.
Future: Like Shkotov, Troliga won’t be eligible to play in the AHL until the 2004-05 and also will likely play in Europe until then.
Analysis: With Peter Stastny’s position within the Blues’ organization, you had to know that the Blues were going to leave the draft with at least one Slovakian player.
4th Pick: Fourth Round, 120th Overall
Born: December 10, 1983 in Upplands Vasby, Sweden
Player Info: Jonsson is a solid defensemen with no major weaknesses. He has decent size and is more of an offensive defenseman than his statistics indicate.
Future: Jonsson has left the junior league to play with Bofors in the 2nd-tier league. He’ll most likely need to spend a season or two there, before he’ll see quality ice-time in the elite league with Färjestad. Jonsson will not be eligible to play in the AHL until the 2004-05 season, so it is unlikely he will come to North America before then.
Analysis: Jonsson is a solid pick for the fourth round. The Blues focused most of this draft on forwards, so it will be essential to get Jonsson over here as soon as he is eligible to play in the AHL.
5th Pick: Fifth Round, 165th Overall
Born: June 29, 1983 in Edina, Minnesota
Player Info: Maiser is known for playing with little discipline. However, he has recently begun to mature and bring his game together. Last season with Boston University Maiser scored 22 points in 36 games.
Future: Maiser will return to Boston University next season for his sophomore season. After next season, Maiser will be eligible for the AHL, but he will likely remain in college until he completes his NCAA eligibility.
Analysis: As long as Maiser continues to improve his lack of discipline, Maiser will be a good pick, especially for the fifth round.
6th Pick: Sixth Round, 190th Overall
Born: January 27, 1984 in Meadow Lake, Sask.
Player Info: King literally fought his way onto the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL. Once he solidified his spot on the team, he began developing into a solid power forward quickly.
Future: Like many other players chosen in this draft, King won’t be eligible to play in the AHL until the 2004-05 season.
7th Pick: Seventh Round, 221st Overall
Born: March 23, 1970 in Gavle, Sweden
Player Info: Johnson, who was the oldest player chosen in this year’s draft, was the MVP of the SEL this past season. While playing with Blues’ prospect Christian Backman in Frolunda, Johnson racked up 45 points in 50 games.
Future: At 32 years old, it’s clear the Blues drafted Johnson to fill immediate needs. Expect him to be competing for a job in St. Louis in September.
Analysis: With few affordable centers available via free agency this year, this was a great pick for the Blues, who need considerable help at the pivot.
8th Pick: Eighth Round, 253rd Overall
Born: June 4, 1974 in Turku, Finland
Player Info: Koivisto, the other older player chosen by the Blues, is a offensive defenseman. While playing for Jokerit in Finland, Koivisto has scored 78 points in the past three seasons.
Future: Koivisto is also expect to play for a roster spot in St. Louis this fall.
Analysis: While the Blues have amazing depth at defense, there’s a lot of unanswered questions for next season, like long will Chris Pronger be out and if Marc Bergevin will be re-signed. Will Sasha Khavanov return to Russia? Blues management knows more about these questions than anyone else, and with the pick of Koivisto, they clearly saw a need to get another defenseman into the organization.
9th Pick: Ninth Round, 284th Overall
Born: April 27, 1983 in Regina, Sask.
Player Info: MacMurchy posted some impressive numbers in the SJHL last season, scoring 32 goals and 52 assists in 61 games last season.
Future: MacMurchy will be attending the University of Wisconsin next season.
Analysis: For a 9th round pick, it’s hard to argue with drafting a player with the offensive numbers that MacMurchy has. The Blues are likely hopeful that MacMurchy develops into a John Pohl, who was a 9th round pick in 1998.