Why the Blues like former first-rounders

After early-career struggles in Edmonton, former No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov seems to be finding his way following a trade to St. Louis. Tim Spyers/Icon Sportswire

First-round picks are the lifeblood of an organization. When they start to collect and start to click, the impact on the ice becomes clear -- much like we’re seeing in Toronto, Florida, Edmonton, Buffalo and other young teams coming of age.

You need them to win, but there are definitely teams that are bringing them in at a higher rate than others.

When St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong traded for Nail Yakupov, that gave the St. Louis Blues 12 first-round picks on their NHL roster. According to data collected from the roster website rosterresource.com, that was a total topped only by the Washington Capitals (two other clubs, the Ducks and Jets, also have 12). The Capitals have an NHL-high 14 first-rounders on their roster. The league average is nine first-round picks per roster.

So it has to be a strategy, right? You don’t just end up with that many first-round picks without making a concerted effort to do it. Right?

“No, not really,” said Blues GM Doug Armstrong on Monday night, quickly shooting down the theory.

That said, the high number of first-rounders on his roster piqued Armstrong’s interest enough that he wanted to go through his roster to see how it got there. Maybe there was a rationale.