Blues take 4 defensemen on second day of NHL draft

ST. LOUIS (AP) — After finishing with the second-best point total in franchise history last season, the St. Louis Blues, restocked their minor league system and are looking to upgrade in the immediate future now that they have a stable ownership group.

"We're going to be active this summer and we're going to hope to keep moving forward," said Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, who this past week was chosen GM of the year at the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas. "This season was a perfect storm in many ways. Unfortunately, we couldn't get to where we wanted, we fell 12 wins short. But this is a good stepping-stone."

The Blues loaded up on defensemen at the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh, taking four of them in eight picks, including three on Saturday.

Following up on their first-round pick of Jordan Schmaltz at No. 25 on Friday night, St. Louis grabbed Colten Parayko in the third round. He had 42 points last season with Fort McMurray of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

The Blues, who finished at 109 points with a 49-22-11 mark despite making a coaching change to Ken Hitchcock just 13 games in, were swept out of the Western Conference semifinals by eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles.

If you look at the overall draft, there's skilled defensemen, two big power forwards that are in the middle with some good size," said Blues director of amateur scouting Bill Armstrong, no relation to Doug Armstrong. "It's certainly a draft that we're excited about. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing the kids progress."

Nicholas Walters of Everett in the WHL was the Blues' fourth round pick. Walters had 18 points in 62 games a season ago, and Swedish defenseman Petteri Lindbohm was taken in the sixth round.

St. Louis followed up the Lindbohm pick with another Swede, center Tyrel Seaman in the seventh.

They began Saturday by picking right wing Sam Kurker of St. John's Prep in Massachusetts. Kurker, who scored 32 goals and tallied 60 points in his senior season, will attend Boston University in the fall.

With an earlier pick in the third round, St. Louis took left wing Mackenzie MacEachern of Brother Rice High School in suburban Detroit.

Goalie Francois Tremblay, who played for Val d'Or of the QMJHL was picked in the fifth round.


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