ST. LOUIS, Mo. The St. Louis Blues entered the 2013 NHL Draft with six picks, an amount that tied the team’s 2009 total for the fewest in the past three decades. Turns out, the Blues didn’t even need that many.
After sitting out the first round — the Blues first-round pick went to Calgary as a condition of the trade that brought Jay Bouwmeester to St. Louis last season — the Blues selected defenseman Thomas Vannelli 47th overall.
St. Louis then traded three picks (No. 83, No. 94 and No. 113) to Edmonton for another second-round pick. The Blues snagged left wing William Carrier 57th overall.
Another trade followed, as the Blues swapped their seventh-round pick (203 overall) and a fourth-round pick in 2014 to Nashville for the 112th pick. They used that to land left wing Zach Pochiro.
Then, with their last move of the day, the Blues selected Santeri Saari.
Four picks marks the fewest the Blues have made since 1993.
Here’s some background on the new additions:
First pick / 47th overall / Thomas Vannelli / Defenseman
The defenseman, 18, originates from Minnetonka High School in Minnesota, and is a product of the United States Development Program. The University of Minnesota commit stands 6-foot-2, 165-pounds and shoots right-handed. Among North American skaters, he was ranked 44th. Scouting reports praise Vannelli for his mobility, stick handling and puck protection. His size, especially his weight, is currently a concern. He will need to add weight to deal with bigger, stronger forwards.
“It’s a really good feeling,” Vannelli said. “I couldn’t imagine this day going any better. It feels really good to have your name called.”
“An offensive defenseman,” he said when asked to describe his game. “I like to move the puck to my fours and join the rush.”
So blessed to be selected by the @StLouisBlues organization. Can’t wait to make the most of this opportunity!
Second pick/ 57th overall / William Carrier / Left Wing
The Canadian, 18, stems from the Cape Brenton Screaming Eagles, a team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Standing at 6-foot-1, 198-pounds, he scored 16 goals and had 26 assists in 34 games last season. That performance was cut short by an ankle injury that sent him to the bench toward the end of the year. Among North American skaters, he was ranked 18th. Scouting reports praise Carrier’s speed, balance, power and physicality.
Third pick / 112th overall / Zach Pochiro / Left Wing
The left wing, 19, was born in St. Louis before relocating to Las Vegas. He plays for Prince George of the Western Hockey League, where he scored 15 goals and had 24 assists in 65 games this past season. He stands 6-foot-1, 161-pounds and shoots right-handed. He had six fights with Prince George in 2012-13. Among North American skaters, he was ranked 173rd.
I want to say thank you to all my family and friends for the support. I also want to thank the @StLouisBlues for taking a chance. #STL #702
Fourth pick / 173 overall / Santeri Saari / Defenseman
The left-handed shooting defenseman, 18, is from Helsinki, Finland. He stands 6-foot-2, 191-pounds. He currently plays with Jokerit Junior in the Finland Junior League. In 46 games this past season, he scored five goals and had 18 assists.