Saturday, June 22, 2019

Blues make five picks at 2019 NHL Draft

St. Louis didn't pick until second round, selected German-born Russian center; 
acquired seventh-round pick from Leafs; selected two centers, two goals, winger

With limited picks in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Blues weren't a factor on the weekend's festivities at Rogers Arena in Vancouver until Saturday.

The Blues had no first round pick this year, having traded it to the Buffalo Sabres on July 1 last season that brought some guy named Ryan O'Reilly to the Blues, who happened to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history this season in case somehow you slept through the past two months.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Second round pick Nikita Alexandrov shakes hands with Blues general
manager Doug Armstrong after being selected in the 2019 NHL Draft in
Vancouver on Saturday.

The Blues had five picks on Saturday, including one in the second, third and fifth rounds and two in the seventh round 

The Blues had the final pick of the second round and went center with German center Nikita Alexandrov, who had 61 points (27 goals, 34 assists) for Charlottestown of the QMJHL this past season.

Alexandrov, listed as 6-foot, 190 pounds, had a 30-point improvement this past season with the Islanders, was born in Germany to Russian parents. His father, Igor, played for the Russian 1993 World Junior team and had a 23-year career in Russia, Germany, Norway and in the United States for the American Hockey League's Springfield Indians in 1993-94. 

Alexandrov, 18, said in his bio on that he models his style of play after that of Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetzov.

"I'm really excited what's going to happen in the future and to get drafted in such a good organization," Alexandrov told reporters after his selection. "... There's more Stanley Cups to win and I think the next few years will be exciting."

It's the first time since 2015 that the Blues did not have a first-round pick, and in that draft, their first choice was defenseman Vince Dunn, who went No. 56, or six spots higher than Alexandrov.

Alexandrov will spend one more season in Charlottetown and take it from there where he winds up.

"After that, we will see what's going to happen; you never know," Alexandrov said. "... I have to improve on my upper-body strength and my explosiveness. I think I'm really going to focus on this, this summer and the next couple years."

The Blues went goalie with their third round pick (93rd) with the selection of Colten Ellis, who has spent the past two seasons with Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL. 

Last season, Ellis, 18, had a 2.47 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 46 regular-season games, and 2.36 GAA and .919 save percentage in 12 postseason games.

The Blues did not have a fourth-round pick. It went to Toronto for the acquisition of Nikita Soshnikov, who has since departed for the Kontinental Hockey League, so the Blues were not on the docket until the fifth round (No. 155) and they used that pick to take 5-10, 184-pound Keean Washkurak, who spent the past two seasons with Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League.

Washkurak, who doesn't turn 18 until August 17, had 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 66 regular-season games for the Steelheads last season and had an assist in seven games for Canada's World Junior team this past season.

The Blues also didn't have a sixth-round pick. That went to Anaheim for the trade that brought defenseman Michael Del Zotto at the trade deadline.

The Blues were supposed to have just the last pick (No. 217) of the draft in the seventh round but picked up one at No. 208 from Toronto, trading their 2020 seventh-round pick to the Maple Leafs and using it to take another goalie, Russian Vadim Zherenko.

Zherenko, 18, spent last season with MHK Dynamo Moskva of the Russian Junior Hockey League (MHL). He posted a 2.39 GAA and .936 save percentage.

And with the final pick at No. 217, the Blues grabbed left wing Jeremy Michel of Val-D'or of the QMJHL.

The 6-0, 165-pound Michel, 18, had 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists) with Val-D'or last season, his second there.

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