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Blues' three first-round picks from 2007 draft are gone

Blues' three first-round picks from 2007 draft are gone

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Back in 2007, the Blues had three first-round draft picks. Those were not-great times for the team. In 2005-06, they won just 21 games and in 2006-07, the season preceding that draft, they were 34-35-13, for 81 points, and finished third in the Central.

They tried to package those picks, Nos. 9, 24 and 26, to trade up to the No. 1 spot and take Patrick Kane, but the Blackhawks didn't go for it. They also tried to move up to No. 3 and No. 4, but to no avail. So the Blues scrambled those picks, going up and down in various places and ended up with picks 13, 18 and 26. And with them, they took, in order, Lars Eller, Ian Cole and David Perron.

All three are now gone after Monday's trade of Cole to Pittsburgh for Robert Bortuzzo. 

Eller was traded in June 2010 to Montreal as part of the deal that brought Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis. Perron was traded to Edmonton in 2013 for Magnus Paajarvi and a second-round pick. 

Back in 2007, Blues scouting director Jarmo Kekalainen rejected the suggestion from my colleague Jeremy Rutherford that the Blues had ended up making safe picks after their trade efforts failed.

"I think Ian Cole was one of the best defensemen on the U.S. team," Kekalainen said. "He's 214 pounds, strong as an ox ... can really move the puck. I don't know what's safe about him. And Eller has got really high potential; so does David Perron. I would expect them to say that we took risky picks."

Eller played seven games with the varsity before being traded for the team's all-time shutout leader. Perron played in 340 games, with 84 goals and 114 assists and lost valuable time to a concussion. Cole played 167 games with the Blues.

Blues GM Doug Armstrong said Cole was traded in part because he wanted a chance to be a top-four defenseman, and that wasn't going to happen with the Blues.

"I talked to Ian on a couple of occasions this year and his goal was to be a top-four player here and get those type of minutes," Armstrong said Monday. "The feeling was if we couldn't find the proper fit, he said he would accept a move to a different organization for a fresh start. Ian was a great pro here. He was a healthy scratch at times and he might not have got the ice time, but he showed up every day at work. It was a good opportunity to give Ian a fresh start and also bring in a player that we really fit the dimension that we don't have on our backend."

"It's exciting," Cole told the Post-Dispatch. "Obviously my time here in St. Louis is over, it was fantastic, but you're just excited for the new opportunity. It should be a really good one."

For those keeping track, the Blues who have been in the organization the longest are Barret Jackman (drafted in 1999), David Backes (2003), T.J. Oshie and Ryan Reaves (2005) and Patrik Berglund (2006).

The 2008 draft is turning out to be a good one with Alex Pietrangelo, Jake Allen and Jori Lehtera, as is 2010 with Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko

As for the other sides of the trades, in Toronto, the Globe and Mail says that Joakim Lindstrom doesn't fit in the team's plans going forward. In Pittsburgh, there were questions about the deals but GM Jim "Don't call me Jeremy" Rutherford felt good about the moves and the experience they brought.

And, of course, the most heart-warming story at the trade deadline involves former Blue Jordan Leopold and his daughter. Jeff Gordon explains.

The Blues took Tuesday off and should be on the ice with their new faces on Wednesday.

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