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Friday, April 12, 2024

2022-23 High 10 St. Louis Blues Prospects

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The Blues should not that far faraway from a Stanley Cup Championship however have been clear sellers at this yr’s commerce deadline, parting with Ryan O’Reilly, Ivan Barbashev, and Vladimir Tarasenko in alternate for picks, prospects and cap house.

That doesn’t preclude the Blues are getting into a full on rebuild regardless of having three first spherical alternatives within the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. St. Louis will seemingly intention to construct round a brand new core of below 25-year-old gamers resembling Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou and several other of their prospect that are poised to crack the roster.

The plan could possibly be to make use of all of the draft picks and do a slower construct, nevertheless it may be to flip the picks to accumulate gamers on the identical timeline as Thomas and Kyrou and capitalize on their cap house.

2022-23 High 10 St. Louis Blues Prospects

1. Scott Perunovich, LD – Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL)

Age: 24
Ht/Wt: 5-10/174
Drafted: 2018 spherical two, forty fifth general by St. Louis Blues

Perunovich often is the most underrated prospect in hockey. His profession and growth have been devastated by accidents since turning professional. His NCAA profession was excellent posting 105 factors in 115 profession video games, choosing up a number of accolades alongside the way in which together with High Rookie, NCAA Championship, Greatest Offensive Defenseman, and the Hobey Baker as High NCAA Participant of the Yr.

Since he signed his ELC for the beginning of the 2020-21 season, accidents have restricted him to solely 54 video games in three seasons. Perunovich has been dominant within the AHL with 36 factors in 35 video games. In his small NHL pattern measurement of 19 video games, he has posted six assists. His offensive upside is elite, in the identical stratosphere as Quinn Hughes, Adam Fox or Rasmus Dahlin…if he can keep wholesome.

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2. Jimmy Snuggerud, RW – College of Minnesota (NCAA)

Age: 18
Ht/Wt: 6-2/187
Drafted: 2022 spherical one, twenty third general by St. Louis Blues

Enjoying on one of many extra dominant strains within the NCAA with Logan Cooley and Matthew Knies with the Golden Gophers, Snuggerud has posted 50 factors in 38 video games as a freshman. It has seen his inventory worth skyrocket since his draft yr, however his manufacturing just isn’t unprecedented. Whereas he solely completed sixth general is group scoring in his draft yr with the US Nationwide group, he did produce over a degree per recreation on a deep group.

What makes him much more enticing moreover his offensive means is his measurement and skill to play any recreation. He’s stable defensively, can skate with anybody, and play a bodily and aggressive recreation. This model of participant is a reoccurring theme with Blues prospects as you will notice. He initiatives very effectively to the NHL in a top-six position for any coach.

3. Jake Neighbours, LW – St. Louis Blues (NHL)

Age: 21
Ht/Wt: 6-0/201
Drafted: 2020 spherical one, twenty sixth general by St. Louis Blues

Neighbours is on the cusp of cracking the Blues as a full time participant after splitting his rookie season between the AHL and NHL. Neighbours is a rugged, playmaking winger that makes use of his measurement and imaginative and prescient to create performs. He can throw huge hits, is robust on the boards and wins loads of puck battles. He’s good within the crease offering screens and has good hand-eye for suggestions and rebounds. His imaginative and prescient and passing means is healthier than common for an influence ahead and his shot is heavy and correct.

Neighbours is on monitor to be a full time member of the Blues for the 2023-24 season, the actual query shall be if he’s a top-six offensive energy ahead, or a middle-six power position?

4. Zachary Bolduc, C – Quebec Ramparts (QMJHL)

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 6-1/176
Drafted: 2021 spherical one, seventeenth general by St. Louis Blues

In his last yr of junior, Bolduc has continued to point out indicators of growth. Whereas it’s tough to enhance on a 55 objective, 99 level marketing campaign as a junior, he has completed simply that. Repeating as a 50 objective scorer and pushing the purpose whole needle to 110 factors is nice, however what has actually developed in his recreation is his playmaking means.

His help totals jumped from 44 to 60 making him extra of a twin menace offensively, which bodes effectively for his skilled upside within the coming season. Bolduc can be a dependable contributor defensively as effectively and can look to make a deep playoff run with Quebec earlier than embarking on his skilled profession. Bolduc is an enormous a part of the Blues future.

5. Zach Dean, C – Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 6-0/179
Drafted: 2021 spherical one, thirtieth general by Vegas Golden Knights.

Acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights within the Ivan Barbashev commerce, Dean is a typical Blues participant. He has measurement, skates effectively, has offensive upside and may play defensively and bodily.

His last season in Gatineau noticed his level totals enhance to a 33 objective and 70 factors. Whereas his offensive manufacturing calls for consideration, it his tempo, physicality and defensive versatility that gained him a task on Workforce Canada for the 2023 WJC the place he gained Gold whereas posting three factors and 33 PIM’s in seven video games.

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Dean got here at a excessive price in a younger and established NHL participant, however the Blues consider he’s the prototypical Blues participant and shall be a key member of their close to future, probably as quickly as one to 2 years.

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6. Joel Hofer, G – Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL)

Age: 22
Ht/Wt: 6-5/179
Drafted: 2018 spherical 4 107th general by St. Louis Blues.

Credit score to the Blues scouting workers for figuring out Hofer effectively earlier than his breakout efficiency throughout the 2019-20 season in Portland of the WHL. He grew to become a family title after enjoying his method into the beginning position for Canada on the 2020 WJC profitable the Gold with a glowing 5-0 file and a 1.30 GAA and .946 SV%.

He carried that momentum into his professional profession the place he has performed in 92 AHL video games over three seasons with a 46-35-12 file and a 2.81 GAA which is superb for a younger goalie. His play has additionally earned him seven NHL begins and he has proven he can play within the huge leagues.

With Thomas Greiss on an expiring contract the door is open for Hofer to step right into a full time NHL job subsequent season. If Jordan Binnington continues to battle, the chance for Hofer to step into the beginning position could come before later as effectively. He has NHL beginning goalie potential standing at 6-5!

7. Nikita Alexandrov, C – Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL)

Age: 22
Ht/Wt: 6-1/185
Drafted: 2019 spherical two, 62nd general by St. Louis Blues

The Russian/German heart has had a tough growth cycle since being the final choice within the second spherical of the 2019 Draft. After a stable junior profession within the CHL with the Charlottetown Islanders, the pandemic pressured him to discover a house in Europe the place he performed in 28 Liiga video games scoring 9 factors.

He returned to complete the yr within the AHL with a formidable 5 factors in seven video games in Utica. His full rookie season was good, however 30 factors in a full 67 recreation marketing campaign raised questions on his projectability to the NHL. He had a breakout sophomore season and put any considerations to mattress scoring 29 factors in 34 AHL video games and was recalled for 28 video games with the Blues the place he performed admirably scoring seven factors. Alexandrov will look to hold that momentum right into a full time NHL position subsequent yr and certain slot in a middle-six position.

8. Michael Buchinger, LD – Guelph Storm (OHL)

Age: 18
Ht/Wt: 6-0/185
Drafted: 2022 spherical three, 88th general by St. Louis Blues

Because of the pandemic, his rookie yr and his draft yr have been one and the identical. That could be a tough hand to be dealt because the 17-year-old acquired conversant in the league and tempo of play and had the distraction of his draft yr to complicate issues. Consequently, his play was inconsistent exhibiting indicators of excessive finish talent and lapses in choice making and flat out dangerous performs.

As his consolation within the league grows and his sill and training proceed to develop he has improved his play and consistency. His level manufacturing went from 44 factors to 67 and he eclipsed the purpose per recreation level tempo. For a mid-round choose he was a little bit of a chance, however one that’s trending in the direction of a pleasant payoff. He not too long ago signed his ELC with the Blues.

9. Simon Robertson, RW – Vasteras IK (HockeyAllsvenskan)

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 6-0/190
Drafted: 2021 spherical three, 71st general by St. Louis Blues

The Blues have proven endurance with the event of the Swedish sniper permitting him to play by means of completely different leagues and ranges in Sweden. The outcomes have been ho-hum as he has bounced between the J20, HockeyAllsvenskan, SHL and worldwide play as effectively.

He stays an unsigned prospect with the Blues and the clock is ticking. It could be in his greatest pursuits for his NHL future to signal and start enjoying within the AHL for the 2023-24 season.

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10. Vadim Zherenko, G – Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL)

Age: 22
Ht/Wt: 6-4/196
Drafted: 2019 spherical seven, 208th general by St. Louis Blues

The second goalie drafted within the 2019 draft by the Blues could have the brighter future. The 6-4 Russian has seen growth time within the VHL and MHL in Russia, the Liiga in Finland, and was the AHL backup this yr in Springfield.

Assuming Hofer graduates to the NHL, that may enable Zherenko to problem for the AHL beginning position and proceed to get teaching from the Blues goalie coach. He could possibly be a draft gem that the Blues will proceed to shine for 2 or three extra seasons.

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