2024 NHL Entry Draft, Adam Jiricek, Henry Mews, Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, NHL Entry Draft, St Louis Blues

3 Blues Targets With the 16th Pick in the 2024 NHL Draft

On Tuesday (May 7), the 2024 Draft Lottery took place, and the St.Louis Blues were confirmed as the 16th pick in the first round of the 2024 NHL (National Hockey League) Draft. Last year, they were within the top 10 overall picks in the draft, and it was the only time in the past five years that they’ve been in lottery pick territory.

This year’s draft is loaded with many excellent prospects, and the Blues can take this opportunity from their position to add one more solid piece to their roster and push for the postseason. So, who could they pick with their 16th overall pick? Let’s take a look at the three best options.

3. Michael Brandsegg-Nygård

The best Norwegian prospect in this draft is Micahel Brandsegg-Nygård, and the Blues are in a great spot to grab him. Brandsegg-Nygård was terrific in the 2024 World Junior Championship (WJC), scoring five points in five games, and was a critical factor in leading Norway back into the tournament after being relegated in 2014. However, they failed to keep up this year and were demoted to Division I, Group A.

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Brandsegg-Nygård spent two seasons in the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan for Mora IK. Through 11 games in his first season with Mora IK, he put up three points with one goal and two assists. Before being called up, he was on the Mora IK U-20 roster, scoring 38 points in 35 games. This season, he played for the U-20 team, scored 12 points through seven games, and was again called up to the senior squad, scoring 18 points in 41 games.

Related: Blues’ Cap Space Needs to Be Used to Improve 2024-25 Roster

Standing at 6-foot-1 and 198 pounds, Brandsegg Nygård has a big frame and uses it well along the boards to play the puck, except when he’s in a scrum, he tends to get beaten. He’s got a great shot and knows how to create space, which the Blues need. He’s versatile as he goes into this draft as a forward but typically plays right wing, which could be great for the Blues’ second line.

If drafted by the Blues, Brandsegg-Nygård will be the first Norwegian player to be drafted by the Blues in franchise history.

2. Adam Jiricek

Adam Jiricek is projected to be selected between the draft’s 12th and 27th overall picks. Still, assuming he is not selected before the Blues’ pick, he would be a great defensive piece, as the Blues lack solid defensive prospects. Most importantly, he is a right-handed shot, which they don’t have much of at the defensive end.

Jiricek is also the brother of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Jiricek (first-round, sixth-overall 2022), who is also a right-handed defenseman. Adam and David are alike in that they are both defensive defensemen who excel at shutting down offensive threats.

Adam Jiricek HC Plzeň
Adam Jiricek, HC Plzeň (Photo Credit: HC Plzeň)

Adam Jiricek could be a tremendous right-handed defensive replacement for Blues defenseman Colton Parayko, arguably the top defenceman on the Blues right now. Besides Parayko, the only right-handed defensemen the Blues had on their roster this season were Justin Faulk and Matthew Kessel. Having someone to continue in the footsteps of Parayko, who is pushing into his thirties, will also give some time for Jiricek to develop before he leaves if the Blues don’t trade or let Parayko walk off his contract beforehand.

Jiricek scored one point through 19 games in the Czech Extraliga for team HC Plzeň before suffering a leg injury in the 2024 World Junior Championship for Czechia in their first game of the tournament against Slovakia. The injury may be something that could hold them back from being selected within the top 15 teams in the draft; however, other than that, he has a lot of tools to bring to the Blues, and when healthy, his footwork can help move the puck around when transitioning to offense.

1. Henry Mews

Henry Mews is projected to go between the late first and early second rounds in the draft despite being one of the few right-handed defensemen to grace the first round and providing many offensive tools. Mews is a great puck mover and plays a lot from the point, which can fit the Blue’s special teams’ needs.

In 65 OHL (Ontario Hockey League) games this season, Mews finished with 61 points, including 15 goals and 46 assists. He has a great frame at 6-foot-1 and 181 pounds; however, he’s not that physical when fighting for the puck in transition and uses his body more when playing around the boards. Assuming the Blues select him, Mews’ slightly poor physical traits can be developed over the years.

During the 2024 U-18 World Junior Championships, Mews exemplified his offensive talent at the blueline with Team Canada and scored seven points in seven games, enough to help them win gold. He finished as the best defenseman on the Canadian roster in points and second best defenseman in the tournament in points.

With a lot of space for a defenseman on the Blues, Mews could be an excellent playmaking option to add onto with Robert Thomas, Pavel Buchnevich, and Jordan Kyrou. He’s shown outstanding performance at finding and creating plays for top players and has proved he could be great with a top line like that.

Closing Thoughts

Of course, not all picks will be successful and promising, depending on which player they select. Still, so far, the last six players they selected in the first round of the draft all turned out to be highly anticipated prospects, with two getting a shot in the NHL, Jake Neighbours and Zachary Bolduc, and showing promise in their skill sets. What the Blues need to focus on the most in this draft will be to find the best player to fit their needs for the next two to three seasons, which is a right-shot defenseman and a solid special teams player is what they should be looking for.

This draft has a lot of excellent prospects to choose from, and it could also be a test for Blues general manager Doug Armstrong to see how long he will last in the front office. If he finds the gem the Blues need, this team will be a formidable contender in the Western Conference for the next four to five seasons.

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