The Blues went down a familiar path in the first round of the NHL draft, selecting a forward - Jimmy Snuggerud of the United States National Team Development Program (NTDP) at No. 23 overall Thursday in Montreal.
The Blues haven’t taken a defenseman in the opening round since Jordan Schmaltz in 2012.
Snuggerud, who turned 18 on June 1, scored 24 goals with 39 assists in 59 games for the NTDP squad this past season. His seven power play goals were second on the squad to Logan Cooley, who was selected third overall Thursday by the Arizona Coyotes.
He’s from Chaska, Minn., in the Minneapolis area, and is scheduled to play at the University of Minnesota next fall.
“All of the mock drafts had him rated in the area where we took him,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told the Post-Dispatch. “He can score, he’s got scoring ability, a winger, someone that we think has the ability to play today’s game.”
Snuggerud’s father, Dave, also played at the University of Minnesota, wearing jersey No. 18 for the Golden Gophers. Jimmy plans to wear jersey No. 81.
In addition, Dave Snuggerud also played for the U.S. national team, appearing in the 1988 Winter Olympics. He then played 265 games in the NHL at forward from 1989-93 for Buffalo, San Jose and Philadelphia.
Jimmy’s grandfather, James Westby, also played for Team USA back in the day, appearing in the men’s World Championships.
The thing that stands out most about Snuggerud’s game is a shot that is said to be elite. Big and strong at 6-1, 188, is a power forward with a scorer’s touch. He’s said to have an effective one-timer and ability to find the soft, open areas of the ice.
“He’s got an NHL shot now, the (scouts) feel,” Armstrong said. “We’re not in a position where we need to rush anyone. We’re gonna let him go to a really good program under top-level coaching and development.