St. Louis Blues Tip Their Hand In Odd Minor League Situation

25 SEP 2016: St. Louis Blues defenseman Dmitrii Sergeev (68) and Columbus Blue Jackets leftwing Paul Bittner (57) compete for a loose puck during a pre-season NHL game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The Blues won, 7-3. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
25 SEP 2016: St. Louis Blues defenseman Dmitrii Sergeev (68) and Columbus Blue Jackets leftwing Paul Bittner (57) compete for a loose puck during a pre-season NHL game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The Blues won, 7-3. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Blues have plenty of choices when it comes time to send their players to AHL teams. The team may have shown their plan as to where some are going to go this season though.

When the St. Louis Blues announced they were not going to have an AHL affiliate for the 2017-18 season, it was somewhat of a shock. It was not unexpected, given most knew the Chicago Wolves would align with the Las Vegas Golden Knights. You still hoped some other team would be on the outside, looking in.

The Blues were the odd man out though. They do have a partnership with both the Wolves and the San Antonio Rampage, who will be the Blues affiliate next year.

As St. Louis has begun to make cuts to their preseason roster, they may have tipped their hand as to where they hope to send more players. San Antonio is going to be an interesting mixture to watch this season.

The Blues trimmed their training camp roster to 44 on Thursday. Not making the cut were Alexey Toropchenko, Ty Loney, Michael McKee, Justin Selman and Dmitrii Sergeev.

Toropchenko went to Guelph of the OHL. Loney and McKee were released. Selman and Sergeev were sent to San Antonio.

Now, before we get excited and start looking into how to follow the Rampage, the big names are still likely to end up in Chicago. Knowing that players are already being sent to San Antonio tips the team’s hand that they want to get some guys exposed to their system early though.

It will now be very interesting to see how players are spread out. Unfortunately, there probably are not enough spots on the Wolves and Rampage to divvy up the prospects evenly.

Since those two teams have full-time affiliates, their prospects will get the bulk of the roster space. Chicago will likely still have more room available than San Antonio, since Las Vegas is still filling out their minor league roster.

Knowing that Blues guys are going to end up in San Antonio does give us some insight into the Blues plan though. They clearly want to get guys down there and get comfortable with the team and the area prior to actually “taking over”.

Sergeev and Selman are good candidates to start the infiltration. They are not extremely high on the Blues radar right now, but neither is just a forgotten man to where you can say the Blues are just sending their leftovers to the south. Both are decent players with a future ahead of them. They just are not expected to make the NHL all that soon.

Some people might ask why these two players going to San Antonio is a big deal. In and of itself, it is not.

Again, it shows that the Blues are trying to make an investment in San Antonio early. St. Louis wants to get as many players in there sooner rather than later.

Next: Several Prospects Could Crack Blues Lineup

The plan would appear to be get the guys farther down the totem pole into San Antonio now. The Blues will figure out how to distribute individual guys that will have to go elsewhere later.

I would not be surprised to see the next round of cuts that go to the AHL end up in San Antonio as well. How many roster spots are open to the Blues this season will be the big question.

For now, we’ll have to keep an eye on the situation as it develops. Each roster trimming will be interesting.