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Blues prospect Bokk preaches patience on road to NHL

First-round pick will focus on improving shot, strength in Sweden this season

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Dominik Bokk appreciated getting a taste of what life is like in the NHL at the St. Louis Blues' development camp June 26-29. But the first-round pick (No. 25) in the 2018 NHL Draft knows he has to be patient before he can become an asset for the Blues.

"I need to get stronger, body-wise," the 18-year-old German right wing said. "Strong on the puck. And my shooting accuracy.

"I need some time. Maybe two to three years, something like that."

Bokk, listed at 6-foot-1, 176 pounds, spent the 2017-18 season in Sweden with Växjö Lakers HC, playing most of his games with the J20 team in the SuperElit League. He had 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) in 35 regular-season games and had 11 points (five goals, six assists) in eight playoff games. He had a goal and an assist in 15 games with the men's team.

"He's a kid in a sense that's raw in his body type but the skills and instincts are there," Blues director of amateur scouting Bill Armstrong said. "He's kind of like the modern, new-age NHL player of speed. He can think at high speeds."

Video: Blues draft Dominik Bokk No. 25

Bokk, born in Schweinfurt, Germany, has been on the Blues' radar since 2016 when the U-17 Five Nations Tournament took place in Dallas, where Bokk was drafted on June 22.

The Blues traded up to grab Bokk. Slated to pick at No. 29, a pick they acquired in a trade that sent Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 26, the Blues moved up four spots to No. 25 in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, sending the No. 29 pick and a third-round pick (No. 76) to get their man.

"We've had a long history with him," Armstrong said. "And we were on him early. We got to watch him for a full year. He had some moments where he was up and down in the season and he went from the elite league obviously down to the lower league of the juniors and he really took off at the end of the season.

"We had a couple guys pegged that we thought might drop. When he started coming our way, we were nervous that somebody else was going to get him, and we were right in our thought process. I believe that if we had waited to get him where we were going to pick at 29, he wouldn't be there."

Bokk, who speaks German, Swedish, English and Russian (his parents are from Russia), plans to return to Sweden to play for the Lakers in 2018-19. He said he tries to model his game after Artemi Panarin of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I'm a skilled forward," Bokk said. "I like to score goals. I like to make nice plays. And I'm a good skater."

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