With the 10th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the St. Louis Blues selected 6’1″, 201-pound center Dalibor Dvorsky from Slovakia. This was the Blues’ highest draft pick since 2008, when they draft defenseman Alex Pietrangelo with the fourth overall pick. Dvorsky also becomes the first forward that was taken in the top 10 by the Blues since Rod Brind’Amour in 1988. This decision was met with high praise and there are a lot of reasons why this draft pick was the right move for the Blues.
3 Reasons Why the Blues Drafting Dvorsky Was the Right Move
Fills a Need Down the Middle
The Blues went into the NHL Draft with two positions of need, defenseman, and center. When two of the top blue liners went off the board, GM Doug Armstrong turned to down the middle of the ice and selected Dvorsky. This was the clear and obvious choice for the franchise if you look at what the Blues have among their prospect pool and what the state of the position could be in the future at the NHL level.
Robert Thomas is clearly their top centerman and will anchor the first line but after that, it gets kind of sketchy. The Blues have guys like Nikita Alexandrov and Zack Dean who could really help down the middle but they aren’t looked at like a Dvorsky is. They are really high Zachary Bolduc but he is projected to slide over to wing. The Blues did, however, draft centerman Otto Stenberg with their 25th overall pick, who is talented, but not on the level of Dvorsky.
At the NHL level (aside from Alexandrov), the Blues have good talent like Brayden Schenn and Kevin Hayes anchoring the second and third line down the middle but they are getting up there in age (both 31) and the tea, will be looking for youth to set their long-term plans, like Dvorsky.
Dvorsky has some things to improve upon but he projects as a second-line center at the highest level and that’s exactly what the Blues are hoping the 10th overall pick turns into.
His Shooting Ability
Coming into the draft, Dvorsky’s shooting ability was looked at as one of the best in this year’s class. Whether it’s his wrist shot or slap shot, the 18-year-old centerman displays power and quickness but what might be even more impressive about his shot is his accuracy. When he has space to set up shop and find his target, he can be a problem. Dvorsky can get himself into a scoring position and isn’t afraid to shoot, which is where his accuracy shines. He can create offense just off of his shot alone and has the patients to wait for the shot he is looking for.
Another layer to his game that makes his shot so accurate is his strong puck-handling and puck-possession ability. This past season, he had six goals and eight assists in the Allsvenskan League, which is known to be a low-scoring league. He also put up an impressive 10 goals and 11 assists in 10 games for Sweden’s junior team while scoring eight goals and having five assists in seven games for Team Slovakia in the 2023 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. Dvorsky has shown he can score, making him a great addition for the Blues looking to improve in that area.
He’s a Berube-type Player
The one thing the Blues have looked for over the past several years are Berube-type players and Dvorsky fits that description to a tee. As much as we talk about his shot and offense, he is an incredible two-way player, holding one of the best if not the best defensive games of a forward in the draft. He has incredible sense and anticipation on defense that allows him to read the play before it happens. Dvorsky’s backchecking and willingness to be physical are what sets him apart from others.
This all makes Dvorsky a 200-foot player who works hard at both ends of the ice, emptying the tank no matter the situation. The toughness, grit, consistency, and workhorse mentality perfectly exemplify what head coach Craig Berube looks for in a player. His two-game shows that he can play extremely well both on the power-play and penalty kill, making him even more valuable.
Dvorsky is highly coachable that will do whatever is asked, which is why making this pick was the right choice. Assuming Berube is still with the Blues by the time Dvorsky makes it to the NHL, he will be one of the go-to guys for the team for a long time.
While Dvorsky obviously won’t be NHL-ready in 2023-24, there’s thought that he could be ready by 2024-25 at the earliest. While his strengths were very much highlighted, he does have a clear weakness and that’s his skating. While that part of his game is questionable, it’s something that can be worked on and improved before getting the call to the NHL. If he can elevate that part of his game, the sky is the limit. Dvorsky has a ton of upside to his game and can be an anchor down the middle as a projected second-line center.
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