The St. Louis Blues have certainly been in touch with Calgary Flames, with Calgary using St. Louis’ 22nd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft and recently claiming Blues defenseman Kris Russell for a fifth-rounder.
The Blues have replenished this area a bit, in the long-term at least, selecting defenseman Thomas Vannelli with the 47th pick in this year’s draft. The 18-year-old out of Minnetonka High School — yes, Prince’s Minnetonka! — comes from the land of a thousand lakes with a well-rounded game, but concerns about ceiling that kept him out of Round 1.
“Vannelli is a player who does everything good but nothing great,” according to the ISS NHL Draft Guide. “He was thought of highly enough to be a part of USA’s World Under 18 team competing in Sochi, Russia. He has a good frame with room to fill out which will help him along the boards and in the corners.
“He displays incredible vision whether breaking out of his zone or quarterbacking the power play. Remarkably under-sized and gets pushed off the puck with ease at any given moment. If he can overcome size issues by bulking up in the gym the next few years at Minnesota he could wind up being an elite NHL defenseman. High risk, high reward.”
With no first-round selections, St. Louis made the best of Round 2 by trading up for center William Carrier at pick No. 57, who hails from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of Canada. Carrier should bolster the St. Louis’ attack for years to come but has much to improve in the meantime. It’s important that they pulled a huge haul here at this stage and found a center for the future.