Let'sGoBlues | WPGv4
Joined: Jun 2016
Posted this in the Armchair Section but thought it would be ok to stick it here as well. Here are my prospect rankings based on (very minimal) live viewings and research/reading/watching from the experts. Enjoy!
1. Robert Thomas
2. Jordan Kyrou
3. Vince Dunn
4. Klim Kostin
5. Tage Thompson
6. Ville Husso
7. Erik Foley
8. Jake Walman
9. Sammy Blais
10. Nolan Stevens
I limited the list to players that either haven't played an NHL game or have only played in the NHL this season.
1. Thomas (C): He has the potential to fall somewhere between Bergeron and Stastny on the spectrum of two-way centermen. I've read a ton of rave reviews about his skating, smarts, and playmaking abilities. He has a legitimate shot of making the team out of camp next season and could slot in as the 2C or 3C depending on what happens with the rest of the roster.
2. Kyrou (RW): Smooth skater, flashy playmaker and scorer who is lighting up his D+2 year in the OHL; pretty composed on the defensive side of things but could get stronger. He's a crafty, dynamic RW that will fit in well on the Blues when he earns the call (probably during the 2018-19 season, possibly not until '19-20.
3. Dunn (LD): Dunn has been the most composed PP quarterback for the Blues this year. He's confident offensively as a rookie, and he's tougher than he looks on the defensive side. I think he will continue to grow and show more and more skill at the NHL level. Looking at his OHL-to-AHL-to-NHL transition, there is no reason to think he will slow down. Should be a solid middle pairing guy and PP1 contributor for a long time. I'd like to challenge Toronto fans to prove to me that Dermott is better than Dunn. Dermott probably gets more hype since he's a Leaf, but I see them both as eerily similar players on the same trajectory.
4. Kostin (W): He was viewed as a bit of a risk at the draft not only because he is Russian, but because he was injured for most of his draft year and he was inconsistent in viewings for most scouts before that. Some people say he is Malkin-lite, others say he plays like Radulov. I just hope he can be a reliable middle-six winger that chips in some offense. He's gotten in a few fights (one in NHL preseason, a couple in the AHL this year) and he's an ass-kicker. Will be nice to add a power forward with scoring touch. Probably deserves to be in the NHL right now, but he's not being rushed. He's only turning 19 in May, so there is a chance he is sent back to the AHL to start the year next year, although I think he'll earn an NHL job sooner than later.
5. Thompson (RW/C): He plays like Nick Bjugstad. He's like 6'5" and super lanky. I doubt he'll fill out and become a bruiser, he's more of a skill guy that hit a growth spurt. Needs to add some quickness to his first step and become more decisive with the puck, but he's got a rocket of a shot/one-timer that will probably put him on the shooting PP unit and he's got a long reach that seems to surprise skaters when he's on the forecheck. Probably going to stay at RW but the Blues may elect to move him to center at some point. His dad is an AHL coach, so use the cliche that he's a gifted, responsible two-way player...
6. Husso (G): He's such a calm, cool, and patient goalie. I remember watching him shut out the (almost real) Washington Caps team in preseason and he just didn't even look interested. Should see some NHL time next year and could end up taking over the starting role in the next couple of years.
7. Erik Foley (LW): Power winger that will probably finish out his senior year next season at Providence - and hopefully sign with the Blues before August 2019. I think a lot of analysts say he has an NHL future. He's new to the pool, came over in the Stastny trade. Jets seemed pretty high on him but have a ton of forwards ahead of him. Seems like he's got a good package of speed, strength, and finishing ability.
8. Jake Walman (LD): Has been a little inconsistent in the AHL this year, but also has been moved around and put with different partners and such since the Blues AHL situation is a mess this year. When I saw him at training camp it was obvious that he can skate (probably the fastest guy at prospect camp) and his shot from the point was a bullet. Probably has some more rounding out to do in the AHL but I think he's still got NHL potential despite falling a little bit this year. He's 22 and finishing up his first full pro year.
9. Sammy Blais (LW): Sammy has been called up a few times and hasn't stuck with the club due to injuries, both himself and others drawing back in. He is torching the AHL as a 21-year-old though - 33 pts in 34 games after putting up 26 goals last year as an AHL rookie. If the Blues get anything out of him it will be considered a success - he was picked 176th overall back in 2014.
10. Nolan Stevens (C): finishing up an amazing senior year on one of the best NCAA teams (Northeastern), I really hope the Blues are able to sign Stevens to a pro contract. His upside seems like a 3C to me, but I haven't seen him play. Another captain of his team (Kyrou/Thomas) and coach's son (John Stevens AC for LAK)
Honorable mentions: Tanner Kaspick (C), Adam Musil (C), Evan Fitzpatrick (G)
Prospects with NHL experience prior to 2017-18 (ranked): Barbashev (C), Sanford (LW), Schmaltz (RD), Sundqvist (C), Lindbohm (LD)
Let me know if I missed anyone or if you have anything to add. Thanks for reading!