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  1. #1
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    Blue's Prospect thread

    Some of our Prospects:

    Defensemen
    Erik Johnson
    Ian Cole
    Jonas Junland

    Goaltenders
    Marek Schwarz
    Ben Bishop

    Centers
    TJ Oshie
    Lars Eller
    Patrik Berglund

    Wingers
    David Perron
    Simon Hjalmarsson
    Jay Barriball
    Tomas Kana

    nhl.com article

    Hockeysfuture.com lists the Blues as the team with the fourth best organization (as far as depth and prospects):

    4St. Louis Blues
    Strengths: The Blues have the league's top-rated prospect in Erik Johnson according to Hockey's Future's top 50 list, and some pundits believe he might be the best rearguard to be drafted since Chris Pronger in 1993. Netminder Marek Schwarz appears to have gotten his development back on track with an all-star season in the AHL and T.J. Oshie was sixth in NCAA scoring and second amongst sophomores with 52 points in 43 games despite beginning the year with a broken thumb. With strength and depth at every position but especially in net and at center, the Blues have done an excellent job of restocking their shelves. Weaknesses: There aren't many flaws, but the Blues would probably like to add some more quality defensemen behind Johnson. St. Louis has a lot of European-based prospects, which has proven problematic for some teams in the past in regards to getting them to North America. Top Five Prospects: Erik Johnson (D), Marek Schwarz (G), T.J. Oshie (C), Patrik Berglund (C), Carl Soderberg (C) Key Graduates: Lee Stempniak
    Add other prospects and/or feel free to discuss these.
    Our forums:
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  2. #2
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    Deep system gets deeper

    The St. Louis Blues made four astute selections in the 2007 Entry Draft. Danish center Lars Eller, Notre Dame University bound defenseman Ian Cole, late blooming Quebec League winger David Perron and high-scoring Swedish junior winger Simon Hjalmarsson all came on strong over the course of the 2006-07 season and are all regarded as quality prospects. While it’s impossible to know how rapidly these players will develop, it was clear St. Louis had done its scouting homework.

    “One crucial thing we look for with players we draft is how much they want to win on an everyday basis. Anyone can go to a major tournament and be motivated to play hard. We want to see players who bring that same motivation to practice and games all the time,” says Blues Assistant GM Jarmo Kekäläinen.

    At the AHL level, the Blues had a lot of youth on the Peoria Rivermen last season, but the club still managed to post a winning record. Players like defenseman Roman Polak, goaltender Marek Schwarz and forwards Yan Stastny and Michal Birner all have ability to contribute at the NHL level.

    The Blues are a team that frequently drafts U.S. college players. Many of St. Louis’ top prospects, such as hustling, playmaking North Dakota center T.J Oshie and University of Maine goalie Ben Bishop are developing at the NCAA level.

    The Blues have also been at the forefront of the move toward signing European prospects and allowing them to continue their development, if so desired, in their home leagues.

    In particular, the Blues have mined quite a few NHL-caliber prospects from Sweden, ranging from center Patrik Berglund to promising 19-year-old Linköping defenseman Jonas Junland and physical 20-year-old Björklöven defenseman Alexander Hellström, who played in the WJC and appears to be ready to step up a level in competition from Allsvenskan (the top Swedish minor league) to Elitserien (the Swedish Elite League).

    The Blues’ prospect crop at center was deep enough for the organization to deal Swedish prospect Carl Söderberg to the Boston Bruins in exchange for 23-year-old goaltender Hannu Toivonen, a former first-round pick looking to rebound from a disappointing 2006-07 season. Söderberg, 21, is coming off a very solid season for a weak Malmö Redhawks team in Sweden before suffering a season-ending eye injury.

    Czech winger Tomas Kana, 19, selected in the second round of last year's draft, established himself as a regular for HC Vitkovice last season, scoring a respectable nine goals and seven assists (keep in mind that the Czech Extraliga only awards primary assists). He was one of the bright spots for a mediocre Czech team at the WJC in Sweden.

    In Russia, 20-year-old Avangard Omsk defenseman Nikita Nikitin had a strong year and after another year or two in the Russian Super League could be an NHL starter. Winger Nikolai Lemtyugov, 21, had a productive campaign for Severstal Cherepovets as did 23-year-old center Dmitri Semin.

    Goaltender Konstantin Barulin, 22, is one of the few above-average goaltenders Russia has produced in recent years, and Barulin is one of a host of promising goaltending prospects in the Blues' system. The Blues also have 20-year-old Swiss goaltender Reto Berra (fourth round pick, 106th overall, in 2006) in the pipeline. The 6-foot-5 Berra has good chance of becoming a full-time starter in the Swiss Nationalliga this season.

    St. Louis recently added yet another European goaltender to the mix; this time a veteran. Unable to sign HC Davos/Swiss national team keeper Jonas Hiller after the World Championships, the Blues signed Jokerit Helsinki goalie Juuso Riksman to a contract after a strong season in Finland’s SM-Liiga last year that culminated in a trip to the finals. The recent addition of Toivonen this offseason and the presence of AHL All-Star Marek Schwarz and others leaves the 29-year-old Riksman’s status up in the air.
    http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?articleid...e&service=page

  3. #3
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    Defensemen

    Erik Johnson -- The already lofty expectations for the first-overall pick in 2006 have grown even higher in the wake of a strong season that saw Johnson turn in a dominating performance at the World Junior Championships. In addition to back-to-back stellar performances for Team USA at the World Juniors, Johnson came on strong over the course of his freshman year at the University of Minnesota.

    The Blues have done their best to temper people’s expectations -- even the most talented defensemen usually take several NHL seasons to truly come into their own. It’s unfair to expect Johnson to come in and dominate immediately.

    Even so, the organization concedes that it’s hard not to get excited about Johnson. The 18-year-old possesses the complete package of assets NHL teams look for -- size (6-foot-4, 222 pounds), skating ability, skill with the puck, a heavy shot, positional savvy, calmness under pressure and the ability to play physically.

    “I don’t know what there is to say about Erik that hasn’t already been said,” Jarmo Kekäläinen, the Blues assistant general manager and director of scouting, said. “Obviously, he has the ability to be an outstanding player in the NHL. But we also recognize that it everyone, especially defensemen, time to adjust to the NHL. There are always ups and downs for anyone in this league. Andy will bring him along at the level he can handle, but he’s already a self-motivated player.”



    Ian Cole -- The 19th pick in ‘07, Cole was a crucial defensive cog for the Team USA Under-18 squad that won the silver medal at the IIHF World Under-18 Championships. He was named one of the top three players on the team, capping off a year of continuous improvement with the USA National Team Development Program (NTDP) last season.

    Primarily known as a solid, physical defensive defenseman, Cole scored four goals at the Under-18 Worlds and was named one of the top three players on the American team. He will join the University of Notre Dame team this season.

    Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson says the Ann Arbor, Michigan native has come a long way since he first met the young man.

    “It’s hard to imagine now, but Ian was this little chubby kid when I first saw him – the son of a billet family. It was actually (longtime Notre Dame assistant coach) Andy Slaggert who recruited Ian, and it was easy for me to accept his recommendation,” Jackson said. “I have a lot of faith in Andy, and it was pretty clear that Ian has really developed as a hockey player.”

    “Cole consistently shows passion and dedication, which is something that impressed our scouts,” Kekalainen said. “He’s physically and mentally a mature kid. Basically, he’s kept getting better and better and we think he’ll continue doing that.”

    Jonas Junland -- Last season, the Blues’ third round pick (64th overall) in 2006 had what his Swedish countrymen call a “kannonsäsong”; a season in which the player progressed as if shot from a cannon.

    The 19-year-old started the year as the eighth defenseman for Linköpings HC after coming off a shoulder injury the prior year. He quickly showed he was too far advanced for the Under-20 SuperElit level (six goals, 13 points, plus-eight in nine games), and rapidly laid claim to a regular spot for LHC’s Elitserien team. By the end of the season, the rookie of the year nominee was a mainstay for a team that reached the Swedish Finals, scoring five points in 15 playoff games.

    Junland also had an outstanding World Junior Championships tournament for Team Sweden, registering two points and plus-five rating in seven games.

    Goaltenders

    Marek Schwarz -- The 20-year-old Schwarz saw his first NHL game action, albeit brief, with the Blues in 2006-07. He’s coming off a somewhat up-and-down first season for Peoria that saw him earn a spot in the AHL All-Star Game, but also saw him play inconsistently at times and finish with a save percentage just under 90 percent.

    That’s no cause for alarm, given how young the 2004 first round pick (17th overall) still is. Goaltenders typically mature the latest of any position. Add in the fact Peoria iced a young team in general and, apart from one WHL season with the Vancouver Giants in 2004-05, this was Schwarz’s first taste of North American hockey. All things considered, it was an encouraging start.

    The Blues currently have a logjam in net with the recent acquisition of Hannu Toivonen and signing of Juuso Riksman. While there is a better-than-average chance that Riksman will end up going back to Finland, Schwarz also has to contend with Jason Bacashihua. Veteran Manny Legace should enter the season as the Blues’ starter.

    In the long term, Schwarz will have to beat out not only Toivonen, but highly regarded Ben Bishop, Swiss goalie Reto Berra and Russian keeper Konstantin Barulin.

    Ben Bishop -- In recent years, many NHL teams have placed scouting emphasis big, athletic goaltenders. Goalies don’t come much bigger or much more athletic than the Blues’ third round pick (85th overall) in 2005. The 6-foot-7 University of Maine keeper, who grew up in St. Louis, doesn’t just swallow up a lot of net. “Big Ben” also moves remarkably well for such a big goaltender. He has led the Black Bears to consecutive appearances in the NCAA Frozen Four.

    Bishop shrugged off a groin injury this year to play several outstanding games at the most important time of the season. Returning home to St. Louis this summer, he decided to have a doctor look at his sore left knee. The knee had bothered him off and on all season. He discovered he had a slight cartilage tear, which was repaired by successful arthroscopic surgery. He should be fine for next season.

    The consensus on the 20-year-old Bishop is that he is probably two to three seasons away from being NHL-ready. But when he arrives, has the potential to be a starter – and a very good one at that.
    http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?articleid...e&service=page

  4. #4
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    Centers

    T.J. Oshie -- The 24th-overall selection in the 2005 Entry Draft, Oshie was hampered by a fractured thumb this past season, but continued to make strong progress throughout the WCHA season. The injury held Oshie to nine goals and 29 points through the first 28 games of last season, but he closed with a rush, scoring eight goals and 23 points over the last 15 games. The Blues had hoped Oshie, 20, would turn pro this season, but he opted to return to North Dakota for one more year.

    “More important than just stats is his approach to the game. He comes to play, and works hard to improve in all game situations. He’s not big (5-foot-10, 183 pounds), but he gets involved physically and he’s elusive,” Blues Assistant General Manager and Director of Scouting Jarmo Kekäläinen said.


    Lars Eller became the first Danish-born and trained player to be selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft (13th overall in 2007)

    Lars Eller-- The first Danish-born and trained player to be selected in the first round of the Entry Draft (13th overall in 2007), Eller emerged last season as one of the top junior-aged prospects in the world.

    Known primarily as an excellent playmaking center and smooth skater, he can also score goals, as demonstrated with a two-goal performance in the Frölunda Indians’ Swedish SuperElit Under-20 championship winning game last season. For the season, he had 55 points, including 18 goals, in 38 games.

    “Eller has all the tools to be a very good all-around NHL player, and the work ethic to improve every day,” says Kekäläinen. “All of our scouts really liked his approach to the game, as well as his skills.”

    Eller recently underwent surgery to repair a small bone fracture in his left wrist. Doctors in Sweden and Danish doctors told him would heal on its own, but the Blues’ medical team recommended surgery. Next season Eller will join Allsvenskan team Borås to gain pro experience and ice time at the adult level. There’s a chance he could he could make his Elitserien debut with the Frölunda Indians at some point during the 2007-08 season.

    “The cream rises to the top,” Kekäläinen said. “It doesn’t matter much from our perspective whether he plays the season in Allsvenskan or Elitserien, although obviously the elite league is a higher level of opposition. Ultimately, a player’s performance will make it obvious what level he should be playing at, and we have a lot of confidence in Eller.”

    Patrik Berglund -- Last season, as an 18-year-old, the 25th overall pick in the 2006 emerged as one of the top scorers in Allsvenskan while playing for Västerås IK. In 35 games, the 6-foot-4, 190 pound Berglund had 48 points (21 goals, 27 assists) and a plus-10 defensive rating. At the World Junior Championships, he had one goal and three points in seven games. He is still eligible for the 2008 World Juniors.

    Originally, the plan for Berglund was for him to play one more season in Sweden for VIK. The Swedish regular season starts in September. It now appears that the youngster will miss at least the start of the season for Västerås, because the Blues want to continue evaluating him first-hand. He will first join other rookies in camp and then take part in the Blues’ main training camp before (likely) returning home.

    Wingers

    David Perron -- Perron received little fanfare last fall when he joined the Lewiston MAINEiacs from the Quebec Junior-A level St. Jerome Panthers. In fact, he went unselected in two consecutive QMJHL bantam drafts.

    One year later, the late-blooming left winger is a first-round NHL draft choice by the Blues (taken 26th overall with the pick acquired from San Jose in the Bill Guerin trade) coming off a 39 goal, 83 point rookie season in the Q.

    The 19-year-old Perron’s strongest traits are his soft hands and stickhandling ability. He isn’t the biggest player (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) or the swiftest of skaters, but makes up for it with his ability to anticipate the play.

    “I’m not looking to come here in September for training camp just to make an impression, just to have the experience. I want to make the team right away,” Perron said recently.

    It’s more likely that Perron will return to the Quebec League for one more season, because he may need additional time to round out his two-way game and add additional strength. Even so, the Blues are impressed by the player’s skill level and determination. Perron has spent the summer playing hockey, often driving an hour from house to play and practice for three to four hours a day.

    “He’s driven to succeed, and we like to see that,” Kekalainen said. “He had the self-confidence to show teams in the Quebec they underestimated him and he made our scouts take notice.”

    Simon Hjalmarsson -- When the Blues selected Frölunda Indians junior right wing Hjalmarsson in the second round (39th overall) in 2007, his linemate, first-round pick Eller, went over to the Blues’ draft table to tell the team they’d made a wise choice.

    Kekäläinen, however, says the Blues’ decision to draft the Swedish winger had nothing to do with the fact he and Eller played together. St. Louis selected him strictly on his own merits.

    “Ideally, would it be great for us to be able to bring Eller and Hjalmarsson over to North America at the same time?” Kekalainen asked. “Sure. We already know they have some chemistry together. But they’ll develop at their own pace, and we’ll see from there.”

    Hjalmarsson is regarded as one of the best finishers to come through the Swedish junior ranks in quite some time. He has a very quick shot release, can puck the puck upstairs even from in close and is accomplished on the backhand as well as the forehand. He is also a nifty stickhandler and a good passer.

    Jay Barriball -- Originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the sixth round (203rd overall) of the 2006 draft, Barriball has raised his stock considerably over the last year. The 20-year-old’s rights came over to the Blues in the deal that sent veteran Bill Guerin to San Jose.

    Barriball is small (just 5-foot-9), but plays like a pinball, crashing the net fearlessly and initiating contact along the boards. He also has finishing ability, as his 20 goals and 43 points in 44 freshman games last year the University of Minnesota attest.

    Tomas Kana -- The 2006-07 season is one the Czech national junior hockey teams would like to forget, but the play of 19-year-old Tomas Kana was one of the bright spots.

    Selected in the second round (31st overall) in ‘06, Kana established himself this past season as a regular with Czech Extraliga (top league) team HC Vitkovice. He scored a respectable nine goals and seven assists in 44 games. Keep in mind that the Extraliga is a veteran-heavy circuit in which young players typically have trouble earning ice time. Additionally, the Extraliga does not award secondary assists.

    At the WJC in Sweden, Kana was one of the few players on a disappointing Czech team to post a solid performance, scoring two goals and five points.

    Kana, who can also play center as well as wing, is an aggressive forechecker and relatively physical player (he’s had as many as 155 penalty minutes at the Czech junior level) who has shown the top of competitiveness the Blues like to see from their prospects
    http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?articleid...e&service=page

  5. #5
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    3 Blues Prospects Reach Frozen Four
    Cole, Oshie and Paulshaj will represent their schools in tournament
    ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues prospects Ian Cole, T.J. Oshie and Aaron Palushaj will represent their colleges at the 2008 NCAA Frozen Four.

    Cole, 19, was selected in the first round, 18th overall by the Blues in the 2007 Entry Draft and is currently a freshman at the University of Notre Dame. The Ann Arbor, Michigan native has played in 41 games this season, registering 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) and 40 penalty minutes. Cole and the Fighting Irish will play the University of Michigan on Thursday, April 10 at 8 p.m.

    Oshie, 21, a junior at the University of North Dakota, leads the Fighting Sioux this season with 45 points (18 goals, 27 assists) and is making his third consecutive Frozen Four appearance. He was named to the 2007-08 All-WCHA’s first team and is a top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award which is given annually to college hockey’s most outstanding player. The Mount Vernon, Washington native was originally drafted by the Blues in the first round, 24th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. North Dakota will faceoff against Boston College on Thursday, April 10 at 6 p.m.

    Palushaj, 18, was selected in the second round, 44th overall by the Blues in the 2007 Entry Draft is currently a freshman at the University of Michigan. The Northville, Michigan native has played in 42 games this season, ranking third on the Wolverines with 41 points (10 goals, 31 assists). Palushaj’s 31 assists this season ranks him first on the team. Michigan will play the University of Notre Dame on Thursday, April 10 at 8 p.m.

  6. #6
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    big ben bishop

    just thought id let you guys know. im a freshman at umaine, but ive been watching their hockey team for a long time. ben bishop is an absolute stud. hes big, but hes also very athletic for a big man. this past year, even with the horrible record, maine could have easily been a horrendous team rather than a mediocre team without bishop. you can quote me hear, in bishops prime (provided an opportunity to start and he doesnt get any major injuries), hes gonna be one of the best goalies in the league.

  7. #7
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    Cole Advances to Frozen Four Championship
    Blues prospect helps Notre Dame past No. 1 Ranked Michigan
    Blues defensive prospect Ian Cole will play in the 2008 Frozen Four Championship game on Saturday night.

    Cole helped Notre Dame to a 5-4 win in overtime over the No. 1 ranked Michigan Wolverines on Thursday night.

    Notre Dame will meet Boston College, who eliminated North Dakota.

    Cole, 19, was selected in the first round, 18th overall by the Blues in the 2007 Entry Draft and is currently a freshman at the University of Notre Dame. The Ann Arbor, Michigan native has played in 41 games this season, registering 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) and 40 penalty minutes.

    The 2008 Frozen Four Championship game will take place Saturday at 6 p.m. Fans can watch the game on ESPN.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by papelbon58 View Post
    just thought id let you guys know. im a freshman at umaine, but ive been watching their hockey team for a long time. ben bishop is an absolute stud. hes big, but hes also very athletic for a big man. this past year, even with the horrible record, maine could have easily been a horrendous team rather than a mediocre team without bishop. you can quote me hear, in bishops prime (provided an opportunity to start and he doesnt get any major injuries), hes gonna be one of the best goalies in the league.
    Sure hope your right man would be a great story too a kid born and raised in st. louis playing his boyhood team would be awesome too see. Plus we sure could use it once Manny leaves.

  9. #9
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    With the young guns on the Blues orginization they won't win

  10. #10
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    Oshie and perron

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnbs View Post
    With the young guns on the Blues orginization they won't win

    that makes no sense

  12. #12
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    Bishop's a BEAST

    Quote Originally Posted by papelbon58 View Post
    just thought id let you guys know. im a freshman at umaine, but ive been watching their hockey team for a long time. ben bishop is an absolute stud. hes big, but hes also very athletic for a big man. this past year, even with the horrible record, maine could have easily been a horrendous team rather than a mediocre team without bishop. you can quote me hear, in bishops prime (provided an opportunity to start and he doesnt get any major injuries), hes gonna be one of the best goalies in the league.
    I think you're absolutely right about Bishop being among the best goalies in the league when in his prime. I really hope he evolves fast so the Blues can integrate him into their system asap cause I'm really anxious to see him play. You also have Jake Allen who's looking impressive in your system. I wish we had one of those stud goalies in our farm system back in philly.

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    Guys, watch Erik Johnson. I am really high on him.

  14. #14
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    can we get an updated prospects thread?

  15. #15
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    Vladimir Tarasenko is the only prospect we need to know. He will win us a stanley cup. Either im ridiculously biased or hes that good. Im leaning towards hes that good.

    Go youtube him.
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