The second day of the draft wasn’t as sexy as the first, but for the St. Louis Blues it was just as important. The Blue Notes picked up nine more new faces to add to the club.
The Blues had a bit of excitement late in the morning from a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The deal saw Roman Polak shipped over to the Leafs in exchange for Carl Gunnarsson and Toronto’s fourth round pick (94th overall).
Gunnarsson was a lightning rod for criticism on the blue line in Toronto for the last few seasons and could really benefit from a fresh start in a new city. He has, however, been plagued by injuries and poor play of late, but likely won’t be playing on the first line – something he did in Toronto – which should also help him.
With the 94th pick the Blues took Finnish goalie Ville Husso who played in the Finnish Elite League with HIFK Helsinki. The 19-year-old, who stands at 6’3” and weighs in at 205lbs., played 41 games last season. He recorded a 1.99 GAA, .923 save percentage and two shutouts, along with a 19-14-5 record.
The Blues also acquired the all-American player from Minnesota, Austin Poganski in the fourth round (110th overall). Standing at 6’0 and 194lbs, Austin is an intense offensive player that thrives on puck control in tight quarters. Poganski had 31 points in 55 games with 57 PIMS in the 2013-2014 season with the Tricy-City USHL team. Overall the right-winger is a healthy choice for St. Louis.
But before the fourth round the Blues had two picks to make in the second round.
The first of these picks was Ivan Barbashev (33rd overall). Barbashev is a center/left winger for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL; he has put up 130 points in his 116 career junior games.
Maxim Letunov was the second pick of the round (52nd overall). Like Barbashev, Letunov is Russian and played overseas – in the USHL with Youngstown – where he put up 43 points in 60 games and added 42 PIMs.
In the third round the team selected Jake Walman with the 82nd pick. Walman, who hails from Toronto, played his first season with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in the 2013-2014 season. The 18-year-old had 33 points in 43 games, but recorded a staggering 87 PIMs.
The Blues chose Canadian player, Jaedon Descheneau as their first pick of the fifth round (124th overall.) The Alberta native stands at 5’8” and 172 lbs. He played for Kootenay in the WHL; and in the 2013-2014 season had a whopping 98 points in 70 games, with 54 PIMs. Desceneau is another strong offensive player for the club.
In the sixth round, St. Louis chose right wing, Chandler Yakimowicz (172nd overall). Born in Kingston, PA Chandler weighs in at 210 lbs. and just over six feet tall. Although he bounced around teams from 2013-2014, Yakimowicz’s aggressive yet simple style of playing stayed the same. He’s been a fourth line guy and consistently knows how to motivate his team. St. Louis fans can expect to find Chandler in the middle of a few fights on the ice in the future.
The Blues chose Samuel Blais for the second, sixth round pick (176th overall). The young Canadian left wing is 5’10” and 164 lbs. He previously played for Victoriaville in the QMJHL.
The final pick in round seven for the Blues was Dwyer Tschantz (202nd overall). Dwyer was born in Wilmington, Delaware and towers over teammates, standing at 6’6” and 201lbs. The right wing player previously played for Team Comcast in the USMAAAE.
By the end of the second day, The St. Louis Blues acquired many new strong players with solid potential for future success. It will be exciting to see what this younger generation of players can do to improve the team.