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Friday, April 12, 2024

2022-23 Prime 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 12 months’s commerce deadline, parting with Ryan O’Reilly, Ivan Barbashev, and Vladimir Tarasenko in alternate for picks, prospects and cap area.

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

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

2022-23 Prime 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 would be 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, selecting up a number of accolades alongside the best way together with Prime Rookie, NCAA Championship, Greatest Offensive Defenseman, and the Hobey Baker as Prime 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

Taking part in 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 12 months, however his manufacturing shouldn’t be unprecedented. Whereas he solely completed sixth general is staff scoring in his draft 12 months with the US Nationwide staff, he did produce over a degree per sport on a deep staff.

What makes him much more engaging apart from his offensive potential is his measurement and talent to play any sport. He’s stable defensively, can skate with anybody, and play a bodily and aggressive sport. This model of participant is a reoccurring theme with Blues prospects as you will note. He initiatives very effectively to the NHL in a top-six function 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 large hits, is powerful on the boards and wins quite a lot of puck battles. He’s good within the crease offering screens and has good hand-eye for ideas and rebounds. His imaginative and prescient and passing potential is best 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 can be if he’s a top-six offensive energy ahead, or a middle-six power function?

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 closing 12 months of junior, Bolduc has continued to indicate indicators of growth. Whereas it’s tough to enhance on a 55 objective, 99 level marketing campaign as a junior, he has executed 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 sport is his playmaking potential.

His help totals jumped from 44 to 60 making him extra of a twin risk offensively, which bodes effectively for his skilled upside within the coming season. Bolduc can also 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 closing 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 received him a job on Crew Canada for the 2023 WJC the place he received 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 imagine he’s the prototypical Blues participant and can 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 in the course of the 2019-20 season in Portland of the WHL. He turned a family identify after taking part in his manner into the beginning function for Canada on the 2020 WJC profitable the Gold with a glowing 5-0 report 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 report 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 large 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 function could come ahead of 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 middle 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 12 months 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 sport marketing campaign raised questions on his projectability to the NHL. He had a breakout sophomore season and put any issues 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 function subsequent 12 months and certain slot in a middle-six function.

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 12 months and his draft 12 months have been one and the identical. That may be a tough hand to be dealt because the 17-year-old obtained accustomed to the league and tempo of play and had the distraction of his draft 12 months to complicate issues. Because of this, his play was inconsistent displaying indicators of excessive finish ability and lapses in choice making and flat out unhealthy 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 sport level tempo. For a mid-round decide he was a little bit of a big gamble, however one that’s trending in the direction of a pleasant payoff. He lately 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 persistence with the event of the Swedish sniper permitting him to play by 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 finest pursuits for his NHL future to signal and start taking part in 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 12 months in Springfield.

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

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