Recently, the St. Louis Blues team of writers for THW had the opportunity to participate in the seven-round mock draft along with other team writers.
The Blues had five selections in this draft, all within the first five rounds. Make sure to keep in mind that the selections of this draft will differ from the actual draft, whenever that takes place. Let’s see who the Blues landed in the 2020 THW Mock Draft.
First Round, Pick #30: Ryan O’Rourke, D, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL
Ryan O’Rourke could very well be the steal of this draft. He’s certainly in the top five of the defensemen group of this class. Coming in at 6-foot-1 and 169 pounds, he presents a unique set of skills and traits.
Three key parts of his game: skating ability, physicality, and shot. His skating ability allows him to be useful in all three zones. He can make things a lot more difficult on opponents with the physical play, and that could get even better once he fills out.
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He tallied 37 points in 54 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 2019-20, a 15-point improvement from 2018-19. His two-way play would be a total asset for the team that picks him.
The Blues would be crazy to pass on him if he’s available this late into the first round — it was the logical pick in this mock draft based on how the board fell.
Third Round, Pick #92: Oliver Suni, RW, Oshawa Generals, OHL
With a late third-round pick, we picked up Oliver Suni in the mock draft. It was a little surprising to see him fall into the third round, as many project him to be a second-rounder.
Suni is a 6-foot-2 winger, with plenty of raw skill. He fits into what the Blues like to do in all zones with his power game. He’s able to win key puck battles and make smart offensive decisions with the puck. He’s risen up boards recently and could be a complete steal with this pick.
He tallied 32 points in 43 games in 2019-20 for the Oshawa Generals. The final point to make about him is his instincts in all three zones, which is likely the strongest point, making him enticing to teams.
Fourth Round, Pick #123: Alexander Nikishin, D, Moscow Spartak, KHL
Alexander Nikishin is another player that was likely undervalued in this mock draft, falling to the 123rd pick. He brings incredibly good size and strength to the table, standing at 6-foot-3 and 196 pounds.
This is the second defenseman we’ve taken in the first four rounds of this mock. Nikishin is a steady, two-way defenseman, with plenty of skill in all three zones. He passes the puck well, he has a good shot and is a good skater.
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His draft stock has been falling slightly over the last few months — he could have been seen as a lock to be a third-round pick, but now is seen as a mid-round player. He would be the best defenseman available at this spot, and he was in this mock draft based on the board.
Fifth Round, Pick #147: Ethan Cardwell, C, Barrie Colts, OHL
In the fifth round, we selected Ethan Cardwell, a center from the OHL’s Barrie Colts. Not only does he have a great first name, but he displays some skills on the ice.
A lot of the appeal for Cardwell is his production in the OHL, as he tallied 26 points in 26 games this season, despite being dealt to the Colts from the Saginaw Spirit. He had 21 points in 37 games for the Spirit, which brings his 2019-20 total to 47 points in 63 games.
Some might look at this pick as a reach, as most project him to be taken somewhere in the sixth round, but I look at him as a top-150 player in this draft.
Fifth Round, Pick #154: Hayden Fowler, F, Erie Otters, OHL
The final pick of the mock draft for the Blues is Hayden Fowler, a forward out of the OHL. Fowler is a pest-type forward, who tallied 78 penalty minutes in 2019-20 for the Erie Otters.
Fowler comes in at 5-foot-10 and 181 pounds, slightly below average size for an ideal NHL forward. He will be 19 by the time the 2020-21 season comes around, being one of the older first-year draft eligibles this year.
He took a large step forward in his production in 2019-20, with a 20-goal campaign and 42 points overall in 52 games. He has nice intangibles to go along with his hockey IQ and overall hands, but there is plenty of work to be done before he can take the next step.
Overview of the Picks
This was a solid mock for us, as we were able to grab some good value players, with high ceilings for some. Two defensemen, three forwards taken by us here, all within the first 154 picks of the mock.
O’Rourke could be an anchor of the blue line for years to come. Suni in the third round has the potential to be a top-nine forward. Nikishin is a boom-or-bust pick in the fourth round, but could be a complete steal.
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The final two forwards with Cardwell and Fowler could make it to the NHL someday, but I find them to be projects in the system, hoping to reach their potential. This could be similar to what the Blues do in the 2020 Draft.