Several members of the St. Louis Jr. Blues attended the USHL Combine this past weekend and had productive weekends. Zane O'Bryan, Adam Roeder, and Andy McGlynn all skated in front of USHL teams in Chicago. The hope is that they performed well enough to be drafted or tendered prior to the upcoming USHL Draft.
Jr. Blues Head Coach Chris Flaugher said, "The reports we got back from observers and several teams is that all three of them had an outstanding weekend." Flaugher went on to say, "I spoke to a couple of teams that were there, and a couple of our guys are on draft boards for them. Of course, being on the board and having your name called are two different things. You never know what will happen between now and draft day."
The Jr. Blues philosophy, for 30 years has been to take young players, help them develop, and help them move on. Says Flaugher, "We have had tremendous success, for a long time, of helping younger players. In the last 15 years, there was a reason that Paul Stastny, Chris Butler, Brandon Bollig, Joe Vitale, Eric Slais, Travis Turnbull, Thomas Fortney, Chris Saracino, Nick Saracino, Ryan McGrath, Kyle O'Kane, and so many others played here with midget time left. They were amazing players in their own age group that learned how to play against older, stronger, more physical players. It is the receipe we have always used. As our league gets older, our model provides even more of a benefit."
Flaugher, and others, believe that it was that experience that helped O'Bryan, Roeder, and McGlynn stand out at the Combine. He says, "When you spend the season battling, being out muscled, playing long games with a lot of emotional swings, you don't have a choice but to adapt or fail. You get stronger and find ways to be successful. When in the past your skating and skill will get you through, here you have to use those skills in addition to using physical strength and mental strength and emotional strength to succeed. The players that did so well all adapted well to this level and will someday be impact players at the next."
Now, they will have to sit back and wait to see if they are picked up in the draft or if they will be doing the camp circut this summer. Flaugher continued, "A lot of the players from our team and league have gone into that league as non-tendered, non-drafted players. So, none of them should be overly concerned if they aren't drafted. Teams draft and pick based on needs. Those needs sometimes change between draft day and training camp. Sometimes plays show better as they get more comfortable. Of our alums that played in the USHL, only 2 or 3 were drafted or tendered. Most made it out of camp."
The Jr. Blues will host a Futures Camp June 5, 6 & 9th, 2014 at the Affton Ice Rink and the cost is $80 per player. The camp is open to all ‘99 birth year players. The Camp will include a presentation of the Jr. Blues Hockey Program, Four (4) hours of ice and a Jr. Blues Futures jersey. The Camp will consist of 2 scrimmages and 1 practice and 5 players from last year’s Futures Camp received invites to the Jr. Blues Main Tryout Camp in August. Click on the Futures Link above for more information.