The St. Louis Blues, barring a trade, will have the 17th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. They don’t have a second-round selection, as it was moved to the Buffalo Sabres in the Ryan O’Reilly trade of 2018.
That trade worked out pretty well, I’d say. The Blues will pick 81st as their next selection, which is the middle of the third round. This draft isn’t known for being particularly deep, but there will be quality options with this pick, let’s look at five of them.
1. F William Strömgren (MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik, Swe-1)
CS Ranking: 14 (EU) / THW Ranking: 59 (Zator)
The Blues would be lucky to see Strömgren fall to the 81st spot, but it isn’t impossible, as many view him as a late second-round pick to a late third-round pick.
Strömgren brings a great combination of speed and skill, those being the two best parts of his game. The Blues can always use speed and skill, no matter the pick in the draft. Notable or not notable, he scored 25 goals in 22 games with the U-16 Modo Hockey team.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
I think the Blues should run to turn in their pick if Strömgren is available with the 81st pick, I don’t see many scenarios where he is. Either way, the Blues should have him quite high on their board with his skillset.
2. F Ryder Korczak (Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL)
CS Ranking: 34 (NA) / THW Ranking: 49 (Zator)
Korczak is another forward with tremendous skating ability, but I believe he does more things well than a lot of the post-first round forwards.
He had a huge 2019-20 season with the Warriors, scoring 67 points in 62 games. He showed excellent playmaking ability with 49 assists; he also flirted with the 20-goal mark, tallying 18 of them. He has slipped from a possible late first-round player to a potential late second-round player.
I could also see him slipping to the Blues if all goes well for them, he’s an excellent prospect to have a chance to get in the third round. With every draft, there are good prospects who fall further than expected and that is what the Blues must hope for with Korczak and Strömgren.
3. D Cole Jordan (Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL)
CS Ranking: 88 (NA) / THW Ranking: 68 (Zator)
The first defenseman on this list is another one from the Warriors of the WHL, Jordan brings a lot to the table. He has shown versatility playing both sides in the WHL.
His point totals don’t jump off the page, with 17 points in 61 games, but that doesn’t matter with his defensive ability. He seemingly fits well into the Blues’ style of play, as his calling card is defensive positioning, hockey IQ, and ability to keep skaters to the outside.
Keeping forwards and high-skill players to the outside while having the ability to pin them to the boards is important, and Jordan does that well. This seems like a more likely scenario than the first two, but he could definitely be there when the Blues pick at 81. I would have no problem with Jordan being the second
4. D Vincent Iorio (Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL)
CS Ranking: 71 (NA) / THW Ranking: 73 (Zator)
I had to get a big defenseman into my list here, and Iorio is the one I went with. At 6-foot-3 and 191 pounds, he brings the size and hockey IQ that any team would like.
As is demonstrated in the video above, Iorio has a monster shot. Another aspect of his game that I like is his ability to do great things both offensively and defensively. When you can find a true, two-way defenseman with various skills on both ends, you want to develop him.
I definitely think the Blues should take him if he is there, I might be more confident in this pick over the other three if they are all available.
5. G Tristan Lennox (Saginaw Spirit, OHL)
CS Ranking: 3 (Goaltender) (NA) / THW Ranking: 78 (Zator)
No harm in adding a goaltender to this list, the Blues could help build up their goaltending stockpile with Lennox. They must replace Ville Husso in their pool, who graduated to the backup role.
At 6-foot-4, that is more than the ideal size for an NHL goaltender, which helps his case as a third-round level goaltender. Many see him as the fourth-best in this class, behind Jesper Wallstedt, Sebastian Cossa, and Benjamin Gaudreau.
A good quote by our own Josh Kim on Lennox’s game in his draft prospect profile, “With his large frame, Lennox has the ability to see over traffic, allowing him to control rebounds and read shots effectively. Possessing excellent lateral movement, Lennox can get to shots in-tight quicker than most, and his athleticism, despite being a bigger goalie, aids in challenging shooters off the rush.”
The final thing I’ll say about him is that his athleticism is important, but many scouts believe he must work on his technique and other technical aspects of his game. The Blues should look to take at least one netminder in this year’s draft.
This year’s draft is a significant one for the Blues, it’s another important part of a crazy offseason. I’ll say the Blues must be smart with the 17th and 81st picks, as they look to bolster their prospect pool as many graduate to the NHL level.
Ethan Carter has been writing at The Hockey Writers for over three years now. He also co-hosts The Blue Note Podcast for the Bleav Network, which covers the Blues and the NHL multiple times per week.