In just a few short weeks the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will be upon us. The St. Louis Blues will be making vital decisions toward their future as they select key players for the organization in Buffalo, New York, on June 24th and 25th.
While the day itself is characteristically unpredictable, there are a few things the Blues should focus on in order to consider their draft successful.
The Blues, like every team, are looking to be competitive for years to come. Although their immediate success is weighing heavily on the organization as a whole, they can solidify their future by drafting well.
St. Louis will have to trust the advice and opinions of their scouts in order to select the players best suited to play St. Louis Blues hockey. That might mean passing on a player widely believed to be the best available, but sometimes it’s more important to find the perfect fit for the team rather than base everything on statistics.
The Blues should consider the age of current players in their decisions as they’ll most likely be retiring in a handful or years or so.
Defense First Mindset
Hockey in the Gateway City is very systematic and precise. It’s not like other organization’s more offensive-minded approach, but it works for the Blues. They have to go into the draft with that in mind because swaying from what they know could disrupt the team down the line.
Quality, big defenders and goaltenders are often high picks because of the need for them on all thirty teams. While it’s the same for the Blues, selecting players that fit this mold may be a great option for trades in the future.
Forwards with a defensive upswing are also growing in their popularity around the league because it is no longer acceptable to excel in one zone of play. This makes the value of diverse players that much higher and that much more a necessity to draft.
Rejuvenating the Line-up
The Blues were incredibly lucky in the 2010 draft when they chose Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko 14th and 16th overall respectively. Both players have done exceptionally well for St. Louis, even with Schwartz’s injury problems, and the team will aim to find more players like them in the near future.
St. Louis also has to consider their future in net. Brian Elliott, one of the main reasons the Blues made it to the second round of the playoffs, is 31-years-old and Jake Allen is 25.
Goaltenders take longer to develop than skaters and the Blues could really solidify their future if they can draft a high quality net minder later this month.
Building the Future
Overall, the St. Louis Blues are looking to prepare themselves for the future. The biggest issue they have is that twenty-nine other teams have that same goal in mind heading into the draft.
As long as St. Louis avoids big risks and doesn’t make any unreasonable trades they should find success in Buffalo.
What do you think the Blues should do come draft day? Leave your thoughts in the comments.