Day one of the 2016 NHL draft is in the books, and the St. Louis Blues did not let it go quietly.
Despite having the 28th selection and having to wait hours while other teams picked before them, the Blues made a little noise by trading goaltender Brian Elliott to the Calgary Flames for a second-round selection this year (35) and a conditional third-round selection.
In order to pick up the third round pick for 2018, the Flames will have to re-sign or trade Elliott.
The Blues then slotted up two spots in the first round by trading with the Washington Capitals. In exchange for the 26th pick, the Blues gave up pick 28 and a third-round selection (87).
With the 26th overall pick, the St. Louis Blues selected Tage Thompson.
With massive size at 6’5″, Thompson needs to grow into his frame at just 194 pounds. He had a terrific freshman year at Connecticut with 32 points in 36 games. He likes to describe his game as being modeled like Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks. With the size, it’s not hard to wonder why as he makes his living in tight using his body to shield the puck and punish defenders.
He needs to refine his game in all three zones to become a more complete player, but his raw size combined with speed on the forecheck has scouts buzzing about top-6 forward potential.
He has a hockey pedigree as his father, Brent Thompson, was a NHLer logging 121 games and 11 points.
Although the Blues had a big day, so did the city of St. Louis itself.
Five players were selected in the first 15 picks of the draft that came from St. Louis minor hockey. Matthew Tkachuk was the first to go to the Calgary Flames at pick number six with Clayton Keller being off the board seventh to the Arizona Coyotes. Logan Brown heard his name shortly after at number 11 to the Ottawa Senators while Luke Kunin was selected by the Minnesota Wild at number 15. To a bit of a surprise, the Boston Bruins selected Trent Frederic at number 29 in the NHL draft.
Before the draft, the earliest a player was picked from St. Louis was Philip McRae at number 33 in 2008. Ironically, it was the St. L0uis Blues who made that selection.
Matthew Tkachuk’s St. Louis ties don’t stop there as his father, Keith Tkachuk, was a Blues icon for many years. Keith played nine seasons for the Blues and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012. Keith finished with 538 goals and 1,065 points in 1,201 NHL games.
His son, Matthew, projects to be the best of the five with an exceptional mixture of speed, skill and aggressiveness as he amassed 107 points for the London Knights and led them to a Memorial Cup Championship last season.
Day two of the NHL draft begins Saturday.