Blues finished dead last in 05-06 and things were not going so well. Look where they are now. Drafting is the single most important thing in today's NHL team management. Blues have succeed very well in that part.
”I knew already back then, how huge role Kelalainen was going to have. When the new boss John Davidson took charge – and the rebuilding began – I said already back then that Jarmo Kekalainen is the single most important person in this organization. Blues had to draft well”, says Andy Strickland.
How big of an impact Kekalainen has had? He's also said that his ultimate goal is to be a GM in the NHL - do you see that happening? Maybe with the Blues?
They haven't failed to get value out of the first round since 2005. It's not just Jarmo but the whole scouting department. Bill Armstrong pushing hard for David Perron in 2007 for example.
2005 – Oshie
2006 – Shattenkirk, Berglund, Stewart (EJ value)
2007 – Halak, Perron, Cole (Eller value)
2008 – Pietrangelo (maybe the best Blues pick ever when all said and done)
2009 – Tarasenko (Rundblad value)
2010 – Schwartz
Backes in the 2d round in 2003 was a great pick and part of the core, and obviously Steen (via Stempniak), Polak and Russell (Nikitin) are here because of the value of the drafting. Palushaj returned D'Agostini and Warsofsky returned Sobotka. The pro scouting has done very well too.
The drafting from 2003 on has given us the players or direct value of 5 starting defensemen plus Cole, as well as every current top nine player except McDonald & Arnott. And one of our 1A goaltenders.
The current team is built from the draft, and they've put the right coach in place to helm it. They have to keep hitting with first round value and also hitting with at least some prospects in later rounds (e.g., Rattie, Allen, McRae, Hakanpaa, Lehtera, etc.). Teams that draft well and retain the value end up being comeptitive teams in sports. That's what we have here.