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St. Louis Blues Top Prospect #7

View Poll Results: #7
Brett Ponich, D 2 3.92%
Jani Hakanpaa, D 33 64.71%
Sam Kurker, RW 2 3.92%
Cade Fairchild, D 8 15.69%
Philip McRae, C 4 7.84%
Joel Edmunson, D 1 1.96%
MacKenzie MacEachern, LW 0 0%
Sebastian Wannstrom, RW 0 0%
Dmitri Jaskin, RW 1 1.96%
Jori Lehtera, C 0 0%
Voters: 51. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
08-06-2012, 12:27 PM
  #1
bluesfan94
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St. Louis Blues Top Prospect #7

Newcomer Jordan Schmaltz edges out Jani Hakanpaa for the 6th spot with 38.1% of the votes.

Top Prospects
#1 Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, 6'0, 191, 12/13/1991
#2 Jaden Schwartz, LW, 5'9, 179, 6/25/1992
#3 Ty Rattie, RW, 6'0, 167, 2/5/1993
#4 Ian Cole, D, 6'1, 225, 2/21/1989
#5 Jake Allen, G, 6'2, 195, 8/7/1990
#6 Jordan Schmaltz, D, 6'2, 170, 10/8/1993

Please both vote and comment on who you'd like to be added next. (Sergei Andronov is my thought)

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08-06-2012, 12:39 PM
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STLBLUES44
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As much as everyone wants hakanpaa. I went with Fairchild because he looks extremely smart with the puck on his stick always making a good decision. Look at his stats with Peoria in his first professional season.

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08-06-2012, 12:51 PM
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Had to go with Hakanpaa again. Maybe next year we should all just make our own list and the official list can be based on a weighted system. I think it would work out a little bit better that way.

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08-06-2012, 01:10 PM
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Bluesnatic27
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I was torn between Hakanpaa and MacEachern, but decided to go with the more developed player, Hakanpaa for me.

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08-06-2012, 01:41 PM
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Memento
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Like last time, I went with Fairchild. I feel that he's the closest to the NHL and the most likely to reach his potential. I'd have chosen him sixth, with Hakanpaa and Schmaltz at seventh and eighth respectively.

As for prospects to add, I'd suggest Veilleux or Grachev over Andronov.

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08-06-2012, 01:41 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=...ture=endscreen

this is kinda funny

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08-06-2012, 01:58 PM
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Being a standout for your country at the top tournament (the World Juniors), trumps being a really good one-dimensional player in the USHL IMO. The Finns put Hakanpaa out there against Schwartz, actually, and the size contrast was dramatic and amusing. The thing about one-dimensional players who are really good in that one dimension is they're available in that 25-40 range, like Schmaltz. Hakanpaa is likely the most physical dman in the Blues system, including Polak. And he's got room to grow offensively, because he sure looked calm at the point at WJC.

Thus I vote Hakanpaa again. He's clearly going to be a top-four dman if he makes it and if Petro shifts to the left, that could be a sick combo in a few years.

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08-06-2012, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
Being a standout for your country at the top tournament (the World Juniors), trumps being a really good one-dimensional player in the USHL IMO. The Finns put Hakanpaa out there against Schwartz, actually, and the size contrast was dramatic and amusing. The thing about one-dimensional players who are really good in that one dimension is they're available in that 25-40 range, like Schmaltz. Hakanpaa is likely the most physical dman in the Blues system, including Polak. And he's got room to grow offensively, because he sure looked calm at the point at WJC.

Thus I vote Hakanpaa again. He's clearly going to be a top-four dman if he makes it and if Petro shifts to the left, that could be a sick combo in a few years.
I really hope your right. From the three videos i've seen of him he just looks like a great fit on our team once jackman leaves. Solid, smart, and reliable not gonna panic and turn the puck over. Willie mitchell like in a way.

You have so much optimism for this guy u alone are making me jump on his bandwagon lol.

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08-06-2012, 02:29 PM
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i went with Hakanpaa. surprised to see McRae keep falling. very disappointing.

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08-06-2012, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by STLBLUES44 View Post
I really hope your right. From the three videos i've seen of him he just looks like a great fit on our team once jackman leaves. Solid, smart, and reliable not gonna panic and turn the puck over. Willie mitchell like in a way.

You have so much optimism for this guy u alone are making me jump on his bandwagon lol.
What made EJ such a compelling package was that he was such a mobile big man, and you can see when Hakanpaa is in motion he has some of that same athletic fluidity. EJ was a #1 overall pick because he developed faster than Hakanpaa, but guys mature at different rates and what matters is how they end up.

Hakanpaa still has to cross a few hurdles. First, he's not as fast with his first couple steps as he'll need to be. That's in a category of "things that can be improved easier than others." Second, even though he looked potent at the World Juniors, in the NHL everyone's fast and there are lots of bigger guys. Hakanpaa will always be bigger than most players but he's not going to dwarf guys like at this level. However, he is playing with men in Finland, so he should have more experience with that. Finally, I'd say he's not proven yet offensively. He seems to have some instincts about when to pinch, and he seems to be able to get a shot away, but it wasn't his original calling card. Basically, a lot of normal hurdles, but hurdles nonetheless.

Now, IF he can manage the hurdles across the board, the Blues are going to have a very special player. This is the excitement part. It's not blind excitement, he's no lock to develop each thing I listed. BUT it's the most reasonable hope in awhile with a prospect in this category. Basically, there's as reasonable a shot for the Blues to find that 4th round impact NHL player with Hakanpaa as with any mid-range prospect the Blues have drafted recently, including Polak. Hakanpaa's ceiling is definitely higher than Polak's. I'd say it's higher than Cole's, and probably higher than Schmaltz', and certainly far more realistic than Schmaltz finding NHL-level physicality in his game and learning how to play in his own end. So, yeah, get excited and keep watching his progress. If Hakanpaa hits his ceiling, then he'd be up there with Tarasenko for impact. He's too big, athletic and unafraid to hit not to be a force on D if he puts it all together.

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08-06-2012, 02:39 PM
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i went with Hakanpaa. surprised to see McRae keep falling. very disappointing.
Well, some of it is that Rattie and Hakanpaa emerged strongly and thus passed a guy slated to be ~3d line center anyway. So those two certainly displaced him. But this is just a snapshot. If he comes roaring out of the gate this year and suddenly starts showing some of that top-six original potential, the next poll will reflect his rise.

In the old days, ten years ago, McRae would be sitting on top of our prospect list. We used to be that routinely thin. Now he's likely somewhere between 9-12 with room to go in either direction.

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08-06-2012, 02:41 PM
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Went with Fairchild again. I like his combo of skills/risk/likelihood of a lasting NHL career a bit more than Hakanpaa.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
Being a standout for your country at the top tournament (the World Juniors), trumps being a really good one-dimensional player in the USHL IMO. The Finns put Hakanpaa out there against Schwartz, actually, and the size contrast was dramatic and amusing. The thing about one-dimensional players who are really good in that one dimension is they're available in that 25-40 range, like Schmaltz. Hakanpaa is likely the most physical dman in the Blues system, including Polak. And he's got room to grow offensively, because he sure looked calm at the point at WJC.

Thus I vote Hakanpaa again. He's clearly going to be a top-four dman if he makes it and if Petro shifts to the left, that could be a sick combo in a few years.
I was also quite impressed with Hakanpaa in the last WJC but I think you may be reading a bit too much into just that 1 week's wirth if games. If we're going to rely upon the WJC, I'll note that Fairchild made the US team twice while Hakanpaa only made the Finnish team once and the US team is generally much harder to make than the Finnish team. Fairchild even beat out Shatty for a spot on the 2008 US WJC team. Now does that mean that Fairchild is better than Shatty? Of course not. I'm just pointing out that relying upon just or even mostly on the WJC can be faulty.

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08-06-2012, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
What made EJ such a compelling package was that he was such a mobile big man, and you can see when Hakanpaa is in motion he has some of that same athletic fluidity. EJ was a #1 overall pick because he developed faster than Hakanpaa, but guys mature at different rates and what matters is how they end up.

Hakanpaa still has to cross a few hurdles. First, he's not as fast with his first couple steps as he'll need to be. That's in a category of "things that can be improved easier than others." Second, even though he looked potent at the World Juniors, in the NHL everyone's fast and there are lots of bigger guys. Hakanpaa will always be bigger than most players but he's not going to dwarf guys like at this level. However, he is playing with men in Finland, so he should have more experience with that. Finally, I'd say he's not proven yet offensively. He seems to have some instincts about when to pinch, and he seems to be able to get a shot away, but it wasn't his original calling card. Basically, a lot of normal hurdles, but hurdles nonetheless.

Now, IF he can manage the hurdles across the board, the Blues are going to have a very special player. This is the excitement part. It's not blind excitement, he's no lock to develop each thing I listed. BUT it's the most reasonable hope in awhile with a prospect in this category. Basically, there's as reasonable a shot for the Blues to find that 4th round impact NHL player with Hakanpaa as with any mid-range prospect the Blues have drafted recently, including Polak. Hakanpaa's ceiling is definitely higher than Polak's. I'd say it's higher than Cole's, and probably higher than Schmaltz', and certainly far more realistic than Schmaltz finding NHL-level physicality in his game and learning how to play in his own end. So, yeah, get excited and keep watching his progress. If Hakanpaa hits his ceiling, then he'd be up there with Tarasenko for impact. He's too big, athletic and unafraid to hit not to be a force on D if he puts it all together.
The thing that ruined EJ was his boneheaded defensive plays and his positioning. That's why i was pumped when we traded him for Shatty.

Yes I completely agree he needs to fine tune his game and pick up the speed and intensity to become NHL ready. But it really does seem like he has the defensive side of the game figured out, good mix of physicality and stick work to dominate players on the boards and in front of the net.

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08-06-2012, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STL fan in IA View Post
Went with Fairchild again. I like his combo of skills/risk/likelihood of a lasting NHL career a bit more than Hakanpaa.



I was also quite impressed with Hakanpaa in the last WJC but I think you may be reading a bit too much into just that 1 week's wirth if games. If we're going to rely upon the WJC, I'll note that Fairchild made the US team twice while Hakanpaa only made the Finnish team once and the US team is generally much harder to make than the Finnish team. Fairchild even beat out Shatty for a spot on the 2008 US WJC team. Now does that mean that Fairchild is better than Shatty? Of course not. I'm just pointing out that relying upon just or even mostly on the WJC can be faulty.
It's a fair point, but I guess what fuels my enthusiasm for Hakanpaa a bit more than Fairchild is the profile big, athletic, physical defensive D. Fairchild is absolutely closer to ready. I'm excited about Fairchild too. He could be an NHLer for sure. But he's foreclosed from having certain traits and aspects to his game that Hakanpaa has, while Hakanpaa isn't. If Hakanpaa ramps up the way he needs to, he'll be not just an NHLer but a potentially impact NHLer. He seems to move with confidence and poise for a big guy, and that's a trait that'll be huge in the NHL if he can carry it forward.

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08-06-2012, 03:25 PM
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What this Blue team needs is a couple of big physical D Men that are solid a can punish people. Don't under estimate Polak. He is an excellent skater and a bull.

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08-06-2012, 04:07 PM
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I wonder where Edmundson will end up? I know he doesn't have the ceiling that Hakanpaa has or the offensive talent one can find in Fairchild, but he still seems to have something about him that seems intriguing, I mean his shot speed is comparable to Shea Weber's, so hopefully he can fine tune that to become a real offensive weapon and his physicality is top notch, I hope he develops and doesn't fall to low on this list...

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08-06-2012, 04:21 PM
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This is tough now, as several prospects need to develop in a lot of areas to become solid NHL players. Fairchild may be the closest now, but Haakenpaa, Edmundson and, maybe a couple others may have higher upside potential, due to potential for a more rounded 2-way game. I go with Haakenpaa, as he may have the highest upside potential with his big body and comfortability with physical play. He may have an easier time learning good defensive positioning in a faster league, and gaining a faster first two strides in his skating take-off, and improving his shot and stickhandling/puck control, than Edmundson and Ponich improving their offence greatly, Ponich learning to use his big body, and Edmundson and Ponich improving their offensive sence AND puck control, as well as McRae learning to play a more physical game, while also improving his offence.

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08-06-2012, 04:21 PM
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I wonder where Edmundson will end up? I know he doesn't have the ceiling that Hakanpaa has or the offensive talent one can find in Fairchild, but he still seems to have something about him that seems intriguing, I mean his shot speed is comparable to Shea Weber's, so hopefully he can fine tune that to become a real offensive weapon and his physicality is top notch, I hope he develops and doesn't fall to low on this list...
Ahead of Jaskin and Ponich, but behind Fairchild. I have him right before McRae.

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08-06-2012, 05:41 PM
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Had to go with Hakanpaa again. Maybe next year we should all just make our own list and the official list can be based on a weighted system. I think it would work out a little bit better that way.
Yeah, but that way doesn't lead to as long of a process. I think that this helps take up time in the summer, which is always nice.

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08-06-2012, 06:14 PM
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I guess I'll keep voting for the kid until he tops the poll.

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08-06-2012, 06:31 PM
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For a big man like Hakanpaa, a huge challenge to prove he can skate at an NHL level - he hasn't done that yet.

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08-06-2012, 06:44 PM
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Like last time, I went with Fairchild. I feel that he's the closest to the NHL and the most likely to reach his potential. I'd have chosen him sixth, with Hakanpaa and Schmaltz at seventh and eighth respectively.

As for prospects to add, I'd suggest Veilleux or Grachev over Andronov.
I agree with that. Veilleux has some potential. I really liked the kid's game in the playoffs this year.

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08-06-2012, 07:17 PM
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u could also add tesink or Seaman lol

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08-06-2012, 08:06 PM
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For a big man like Hakanpaa, a huge challenge to prove he can skate at an NHL level - he hasn't done that yet.
Not really. In motion he is clearly NHL level. In fact, in motion he is most comparable to EJ. You look at him being so big and expect him to be more awkward, but he's very impressive skating when he's going. He'll need just to improve his first step or two, which is not a "huge challenge." A huge challenge would be more like Schmaltz learning how to play defense or be physical in any way. Those are both huge challenges. A young guy working on improving his initial step is a fairly small challenge.

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08-06-2012, 09:28 PM
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I vote Hakanpaa again. I would have put Fairchild ahead of Schmaltz too but oh well.

I would like to see Veilleux added to the poll again.

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