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Davidson proud of role in building Blues into Stanley Cup finalists

Brought in GM Armstrong, nine current players while president of hockey operations from 2006-12

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- John Davidson's pride swells with the knowledge that his fingerprints remain all over the St. Louis Blues' run to the Stanley Cup Final, seven years after leaving them.

Davidson was Blues president of hockey operations from 2006-12, and during that time he helped draft or acquire nine of the 20 players expected to be in uniform for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

The new president of the New York Rangers said Wednesday that he couldn't be happier for the many people who have continued to build on what he helped start in St. Louis 13 years ago.

"That city deserves this," Davidson said. "It's a great sports city. There's a lot of tradition behind their hockey club. They went through a number of different owners, so it was hard for people. We didn't even know if the Blues were going to stay there or not. They stayed and I'm happy for them."

Video: Rangers name John Davidson new team president

Davidson brought Blues general manager Doug Armstrong to St. Louis as the director of player personnel on May 29, 2008. Armstrong was promoted to GM two years later.

Davidson oversaw the selection of goalies Jordan Binnington (2011) and Jake Allen (2008), forwards David Perron (2007), Vladimir Tarasenko (2010) and Jaden Schwartz (2010), and defensemen Alex Pietrangelo (2008), Joel Edmundson (2011) and Colton Parayko (2012). He was also there when the Blues acquired forward Alexander Steen in a trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 24, 2008.

"To see those young players grow into men, get married, have families," Davidson said, "I've had a text or two or three from some of them, which is pretty nice. It's been good."

Davidson spoke particularly of Pietrangelo, the Blues captain, who was the No. 4 pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, and Binnington, who has emerged as their No. 1 goalie after a midseason call-up from the minors. He was a third-round pick (No. 87) in the 2011 NHL Draft.

"I remember when we drafted Alex Pietrangelo," Davidson said. "He's gone on to be their captain. We actually sent him back to junior twice. It was a hard thing to do, but it was the best for him. To see him become captain and see the way he plays, that's pretty special.

"Binnington we didn't know was going to be this good," Davidson said. "I don't think the Blues knew he was going to be this good, but God bless him, he's good."

Davidson said he has a sense of pride now for what the Blues have accomplished, but he's not alone.

He specifically mentioned former Blues general manager Larry Pleau, who was the GM when Davidson arrived in St. Louis and remains their senior adviser of amateur scouting. He also brought up Jarmo Kekalainen, who was the assistant GM and director of amateur scouting when Davidson got to St. Louis.

Davidson left the Blues in 2012 to become the president of hockey operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets. One year later, he hired Kekalainen to be their general manager.

"It's [a sense of pride] for all of us that were part of it, for [Kekalainen], for myself, for Larry Pleau, for a whole group of people, all our scouts and the players themselves," Davidson said. "It's just a good thing. I hope they do well in the Final. It's going to be a tough series. This is going to be a good series."

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