Reaction – Blues 2017 Draft Picks (Part 1)

Draft Results

  • Robert Thomas, Center (20th Overall)
  • Klim Kostin, Center/Right Winger (31st Overall)
  • Alexey Toropchenko, Right Winger (113th Overall)
  • David Noel, Left Defenseman (130th Overall)
  • Trenton Bourque, Left Defenseman (175th Overall)
  • Anton Andersson, Left Defenseman (206th Overall)

I’ll start by saying I’m not going to pretend to comment on the Blues picks outside of the first round as the likelihood of these players making to the NHL are slim to none (and I didn’t have a clue who they were when the Blues selected them):

Blog 2 Picture

Source:  TSN Article

Robert Thomas

Thomas is a 6’0” 185 lb. true centerman from the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.  He scored exactly at a point per game rate in 66 games in the previous season and scored 12 points in 14 playoff games.  Thomas won a Memorial Cup with the dream team London Knights in 2015 along with Matthew Tkachuk, Christian Dvorak, and Mitch Marner.  The Blues 20th overall pick played largely a checking line role on the Memorial Cup team although I am a big proponent of prospects who have been a part of championship teams at lower levels.  Thomas has drawn comparisons to fellow Knights alumni Bo Horvat now of the Vancouver Canucks with similarities in their two-way play and offensive ability.  Horvat just signed a 6-year $33 million contract extension after leading the Canucknuckleheads in goals (20) and points (52) last season.  Thomas is known more for being a playmaker than a scorer and lacks elite finishing ability compared to others in his draft class.  You can see some of his highlights below:

Robert Thomas Highlights

Honestly, I see a lot of past and current Paul Stastny in Thomas (which is a good and bad thing). His exceptional Hockey IQ is very apparent from watching the highlights – always making the right plays and being in the right lanes on the ice (we shouldn’t take this attribute for granted à la Nail Yakupov).  He’s also a decent skater, above average puck handler, and has good size which project him as a true centerman compared to other forward prospects which start at center but more likely end up as wingers.  Like Stastny though, Thomas lacks that one truly elite skillset which sets him apart from his competition.  His finishing ability has really been limited to only goals right around the crease (but hey, those still count the same as an Al MacInnis clapper from the blue line).  My projection is Thomas is a sure bet to be a second line centerman in the NHL with potential to push first line for maybe one or two years in his career. High floor but lower ceiling prospect – safe pick for #20 overall.

Pick Grade:  B

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