ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 24: (L-R) Assistant General Manager Marc Bergevin of the Chicago Blackhawks, General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk of the Dallas Stars and Vice President of Hockey Operations Al MacInnis of the St. Louis Blues during day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Blues are choosing 25th overall in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, their lowest position since 2000 where they chose 30th overall.
It's been quite a while since the Blues have chosen this low in the first round, years where they've traded their first rounder notwithstanding. You have to go all the way back to 2004, when the Blues drafted T.J. Oshie 24th overall, to see St. Louis drafting that late. Oshie was an expert snag by former drafting guru Jarmo Kekalainen, but finding a diamond in the rough that late in the first round is tough to do. Most late first-rounders tend to be project guys, ones that should make the NHL but aren't 110% a sure fire thing. Oshie was a game-changer, but that's not a gimmie for the Blues to get this year.
The Blues are drafting as follows at this year's draft. Day one is Friday night at 7:00 and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network. Day two begins at 10:00 and will be aired on NHL Network and should also be available for on-line streaming at NHL.com.
Round 1 (25TH Overall)
Round 2 (56TH Overall)
Round 3 (67TH Overall from ANA)
Round 3 (86TH Overall)
Round 4 (116TH Overall)
Round 5 (146TH Overall)
Round 6 (176TH Overall)
Round 7 (206TH Overall)
In the SB Nation mock draft, St. Louis Game Time's Prospect Department chose Nicolas Kerdiles at 25th overall. Says Brian:
Kerdiles, the son of French parents who was born in Texas and played his minor hockey in California, has been on the "Game Time" radar since midseason. A versatile forward who can play either center or left wing, Kerdiles appeared in 54 contests for the USNTDP U-18 squad this season, leading the team in almost every offensive category.
The 6' 1, 200-pound Kerdiles led the U-18 team in goals (22), assists (26), points (48), and power-play goals (7) during the 2011-12 campaign, and stepped up to the plate for Team USA at the World U-18 Junior Championships held last month in the Czech Republic. In six games for the Red, White and Blue, Kerdiles tallied four goals and nine points -- including two goals and five points in a 7-0 rout of Sweden in the championship game -- leading the USA to their fourth consecutive gold medal at the U-18 Worlds. He also excelled in the faceoff circle, winning 14 out of 25 faceoffs taken in the six games for a 64.1 win percentage, good for third place in the tournament.
Not too shabby. If he's still hanging around at 25th, go for it. That late in the first round you get the best available player, then draft the rest of the round based on prospect needs. The Blues can always use a scorer, and you'd have to be half-mad to pass up someone who led their team to a gold medal.