After making a first-round selection, the Blues mostly watched the early picks Saturday. Still, clearly, general manager Doug Armstrong and his scouts saw something they liked as they made an already lean group of picks leaner by trading up 10 spots to get Simon Robertsson Saturday (July 24) morning.
Simon Robertsson, Right Wing (Pick No. 71) (6-foot, 190 pounds)
CS Ranking : 11 (European Skaters)/THW Ranking : 13th (Zator – Forbes) 14th (Baracchini)
The Blues entered the Draft with five selections and spent their own third round (81st overall) and sixth-round (177th overall) to the San Jose Sharks and that could seem a shockingly low price if the rugged forward lives up to the expectations of some prognosticators.
Overview: What He Does Well
Scouts have gushed over the speed and accuracy of Robertsson’s shot. Armed with a quick release, Robertsson can take advantage of even a brief screen, getting a quick shot away to the exact spot needed. He checks off other boxes as well, blessed with good speed and a good hockey IQ.
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Robertsson was ranked so high in draft preview it begs the question, how in the heck did he fall to the third round? It’s been said he is blessed with one of — if not the best — shot among the 2021 Draft Prospects, so when they saw him available, the Blues couldn’t resist taking a shot at what could be a third-round pick with first -ound talent.
He’s only been a member of the Blues for a short time at this point, but this has the possibility of being a draft choice of note for Armstrong and Blues.
Overview: What He Needs to Work On
Robertsson made some huge strides in a competitive season with players scrambling to find spots to play amid the COVID-19 restrictions, including 22 games played with Skelleftea AIK in the SHL, considered one of the top professional leagues in Europe.
While he showed off his gifted shot at every level prior — 15 games with the Skelleftia U20 team, the World U18 Championship tournament and on loan to the team in his hometown of Pitea, Sweden — Robertsson was eased into the lineup on the pro team and contributed just a goal and assist.
Keep in mind, this is an 18-year-old forward playing a top-ranked professional league. Inconsistency was a word used to describe his play, but all he needs at this point is time to find his game at the higher level, in particular in his own half of the rink.
Scout and Draft Analyst Thoughts.
“It is no exaggeration to state that the Piteå product is the best shooter in the draft. Most current NHL wingers wish they had the ability to catapult a puck of their stick like Robertsson does.” — Alexander Appleyard (From Smaht Scouting, Scouting Report: Simon Robertsson)
Tony Ferrari, Dobber Prospects: Hardworking winger with good speed and a quality release. Potential as a top-six forward in the NHL.
Ben Kerr, Lastwordonsports.com: “Robertsson does a good job of controlling the play from the half-boards on the power play. He also handles the puck well through the neutral zone. Robertsson generates effective zone entries as he uses his speed and agility to generate space through the neutral zone.”
In a post-draft interview, Robertsson described himself as a two-way forward. The Blues have a shot at owning the steal of the 2021 Entry Draft if he can stay on his current track and there’s no reason at this point to think he won’t be able to become a quality forward at the NHL level.
He won’t be in St. Louis — likely won’t even be in North America for the next year or so, but there’s no rush. He could be yet another in a solid group of young players who will wear the Blue Note over the next 2-5 seasons. At best, with the right teammates who could be a high-scoring triggerman on a potent Blues’ attack.
Even if he ends up being a third-line workhorse winger, it would still be a great pick up in the third round. Time will tell, but the immediate feeling is this is a big pick for the Blues.
Closing in on 60, Jim has been a fan of hockey, since the age of five and he has finally capped it as a THW Writer on the St. Louis Blues beat. Growing up in small town Ontario, he never got far as a player, but has spent most of the past 40 years writing about the game from the youth hockey to junior hockey and now, pro levels. A move to the Midwest (Wisconsin) in 2000 shifted the focus a bit. Working at small newspapers, Jim relished a chance to focus on hockey alone and has dabbled in that with a pair of websites, midwesthockey.info and saukhockey.info.