Sadly, we don’t get to watch it, nor do we get to hear it as it’s not being picked up by anyone today. Sad, yes, but remember fans, training camp is now just three days away! Hockey is upon us again!
So lets take a look at the future of the Blues. Today I’m going to highlight three of the top Blues prospects and how they are expected to impact their respective rosters this season.
First I want to look at the player who is widely considered our top prospect, Vladimir Tarasenko.
Tarasenko, 19, is a native of Yaroslavl, Russia, who is currently playing for the team his father coaches, Sibir Novosibirsk, in the Kontinental Hockey League.
Tarasenko is was a highly regarded prospect going into his draft year and the Blues showed how highly they thought of him by trading defensive prospect David Rundblad to the Ottawa Senators in exchange the 16th overall pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft. Using the aforementioned pick on the Russian phenom, the Blues landed themselves a strong, north-south player with top end skill.
Tarasenko showed his skill last season during the World Junior Championships by captaining team Russia into the finals. His game-tying-goal and game-winning-assist showed the clutch player that Tarasenko truly is and gave the world a glimpse of the player Tarasenko could become.
Vladimir was named an alternate captain at the age of 19 for his KHL team. They held their first game of the season today against Amur Khabarovsk and former Blues prospect, Viktor Alexandrov.
Tarasenko dominated todays game, helping Sibir win 5-2 by notching a goal and an assist in the game.
Tarasenko is expected to be a game changer for Sibir this season, along with fellow Blues prospect and line mate, Jori Lehtera. Lehtera also notched an assist in Sibir’s win today.
Our second player to look at today is Ian Cole, defensemen for the Peoria Rivermen.
Cole, 22, started his first pro-season last year with the Peoria Rivermen, but it didn’t take long for the 6’1″, 221lbs defender to get a look at the NHL level. Playing in 26 games for the Blues last season, Ian Cole never looked out of place.
Known more for his shut-down game, Cole was very solid in his own end of the ice. He found away to score his first NHL goal, put up three assists and finish the year off with a +6 rating. A number that did stand out for the rookie defensemen was his penalty minute rating. his 35PIM isn’t necessarily high, but watching, some of his penalties were because he was ‘out played’ by players and a hook, trip, or slash got him back into the play. It’s common for rookie defensemen to have higher penalty minutes as they adjust to the speed of the game around them.
Cole threw some nice, hard hits that brought their recipients knocking on Cole’s door step. First, his fight against Ryan Weston of San Antonio when Cole was in Peoria. Then it was his second fight against Benn Ferriero of San Jose when Cole was in St. Louis.
Cole will be the top defensemen in Peoria this year, who will undoubtedly get his fair share of call ups this season if injuries occur.
Lastly, I want to focus in on Jaden Schwartz.
Schwartz was the Blues original draft pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft.
Picked 14th overall, the Melfort, Saskatchewan native took a different route compared to most Canadian born players. Instead of taking the junior hockey approach, Schwartz spent a year with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League before attending Colorado College with his brother, Rylan Schwartz.
Jaden played in 30 out of 45 games (missing the other 15 due to a broken ankle) and still managed to lead Tigers in points (17 goals, 30 assists).
Schwartz is likely to be the top player in Colorado again this season and it’s not out of reach we see a healthy Jaden Schwartz posting 70+ points with the Tigers this year.
It’s not expected we see Jaden for another year, possibly two. But this will give the forward time to develop properly and become an offensive phenom at the NHL level.
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