...But Schmaltz and the other seven Blues draftees are a ways off from contributing at the NHL level, and immediate help is what will be on the minds of most as the league's free-agency period starts Sunday.

The Blues will be looking for a top-four defenseman and perhaps a pair of bottom-six forwards, depending on what happens this week in negotiations with veterans Jamie Langenbrunner and Scott Nichol, who will become unrestricted free agents Sunday.

The top defensive target in free agency will be Nashville's Ryan Suter. Detroit, Minnesota and now Pittsburgh, after making a pair of trades at the draft that freed up salary-cap space, appear to be the front-runners for Suter.