The St. Louis Blues finished off their group play at the prospects tournament in fine fashion on September 11. It shows that they are gelling quite well and that is great.
The St. Louis Blues had some shaky moments in their journey through the 2017 Traverse City Prospects Tournament. As they navigated their way through the group stages, they allowed way more goals than anyone would have liked. They also scored more than most would have expected.
In the end, they finished things off nicely with an upset win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. I say upset because Columbus came into the day as the only undefeated team in the tournament.
Thompson’s goal came at 15:32 of the third period and proved to be the game winner after the teams had traded goals up to that point. His goal, along with an assist in the game, put him up to 6 points, which topped all skaters in the tournament.
Walman scored his second goal on the powerplay and Thompson and Robert Thomas picked up assists. Thomas is looking more and more like the playmaker the Blues have needed. He might not be in the NHL for a year or two, but if he keeps up that style and continues to grow, he should be well worth the pick.
On another good note, or bad depending on your point of view, the Blues only allowed two goals on 33 shots against. People will wonder how that can be bad.
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Well, the same day as this game I wrote an article discussing the lack of attention given to the goaltenders at this tournament. Much of that was due to Evan Fitzpatrick getting lit up for 12 goals in two games.
The Blues did the surprising thing by allowing Stephen Dhillon, an undrafted free-agent invitee, to play in goal during the final and important game. Dhillon showed up his teammate by slowing down the Columbus attack while facing double-digit shots in two of the three periods.
Again, these tournaments are not going to break anyone’s standing withing the franchise. It has definitely not made Fitzpatrick though. Fitzpatrick needs to find a way to get his game in order or else he will actually slide down the ranks.
Back to the positives, the Blues have somewhat surprisingly poured in the goals. Despite only having three in their final group game, they tied the Chicago Blackhawks prospects for the most goals scored. 15 goals in three games is pretty good at an average of five per game.
Additionally, Thompson continues to impress. Beyond just scoring, he is showing an impressive ability to kill penalties.
“Thompson was the best player on the ice again,” said Blues development coach Barret Jackman on the team website. “He played strong, made some great plays, and he played the penalty kill today with (Tanner) Kaspick. Those two were a very strong skating and tenacious penalty-kill unit.”
We’ve talked a lot about Klim Kostin, but if Thompson continues his current pace then his hope of making the NHL this season might come to fruition.
For now, we should be happy the Blues came back from their disappointing showing in their first game. They will now play in the fifth place game on September 12.