Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Last May Not Be Least in Blues' Draft

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Last May Not Be Least in Blues' Draft

Article excerpt

Sweeping up after the National Hockey League entry draft Saturday at Kiel Center:

The Blues may have found instant help on the ninth and final round.

Konstantin Shafranov, a Russian right winger, was the International Hockey League rookie of the year at age 28.

After Blues scouting director Ted Hampson took college center Marty Reasoner on the first round, pro scout Bobby Plager hinted that Shafranov would be an ideal sleeper pick.

"He showed up without a pair of skates in Fort Wayne," Plager said. "They signed him and he got 46 goals.

"That's pretty good. And the language and everything was new to him here, too."

On the other hand, former Blues grinder Gino Cavallini scored 43 goals last season for Milwaukee of the IHL, a minor league laden with NHL alumni.

"So you don't know how good this guy is, if Gino scores 43 in the league," Plager said.

By the way, Cavallini, 33, will migrate to Europe for a $140,000 salary. IHL owners are trying to make a salary cap stick.

Ron Caron, the Blues' executive vice president, was enthusiastic about his chief scout's gamble on the 5-foot-11 Shafranov.

"Teddy Hampson surprises me every year with his last pick," Caron said. "You know, 46 goals is 46 goals, whether they're scored by 5-foot-2 or 6-foot-9.

"This guy could be the surprise of camp. I'd say he has 80 percent chances of making the Blues this year. This guy could be better than (Yuri) Khymlev."

The price is certainly more right for the newer of these two Russians.

Shafranov was the 229th of 241 players drafted.

The seldom-used Khymlev, 31, came from Buffalo at the trade deadline for a second-rounder this year (No. 27), a third-rounder next year and prospect Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre.

Blues third-rounder Gordie Dwyer, the red-headed ruffian taken 67th overall, punched out his 358 penalty minutes for three teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. …

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