26 June 2004

I call this Blues Steal

How much do I love my Blues now?

Two days ago, they traded last year's 30th pick overall, D Shawn Belle, for Dallas' 2003 26th overall, G Jason Bacashihua (or "Cash"). With that transaction, the Blues added to a weak net corps in the hopes that "Cash" would pay off in the future.
Blues no. 1 pick Marek Schwarz
But the real heist came on draft day. With their 17th pick in the 2004 Draft, St. Louis grabbed arguably the top netminder in the draft, goaltender Marek Schwarz.

The only complaint I can find is should the Blues have waited to make the Belle deal after the draft?
My response: How do we know that Dallas wouldn't have just gone with a D-man in the draft? If you told me before the draft that the Blues would have a shot at one of the draft's top 2 goalies, I'd asked for a hit of what you're smoking.

This is the best pick the Blues have made in 5 years, since grabbing Jackman at 17 in 1999.

Nice work, Jarko. That extension is well deserved.

Vive le Blue!

Marek SchwarzBlues no. 1 pick Marek Schwarz
Position: goaltender
Team: HC Sparta Praha Sr.
Birthdate: April, 1st, 1986
Birthplace: Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic
Height: 6'0”
Weight: 173 lbs.
Catches: R
CSB final rank: 1st among European goaltenders

At 6'0”, 173 pounds, Schwartz already possesses decent size, covers the net quite well and has considerable smarts. He plays a butterfly style which is very effective and makes it tough to beat him low. Schwarz is a resilient goalie with exceptional quickness and reflexes. He uses his pads well and has a quick glove hand. He also likes to challenge the shooter and plays the angles with remarkable poise. He impresses with his confidence and doesn't let in many bad goals. On the mental side he seems to be tough, but still sometimes tends to lose focus for a while. His drawbacks are average skating and he has to further develop his stickhandling. Schwarz’s play with the puck isn't very good, but he is aware of this and working on this skill. This season Schwarz developed a penchant to go down sometimes too early, thus leaving the upper half uncovered and vulnerable to shooters. He has to get rid of this habit, but nevertheless he is the most talented netminder from this year's European crop. Schwarz won't fall past the Top 15 as he has all the tools of a future NHL starter.
2004 St. Louis Blues draft picks
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