The St. Louis Blues broke the ice as far as making trades goes for this season. Whether it means more is in store remains to be seen, but at least they are thinking about roster tweaks.
The St. Louis Blues made a somewhat minor deal on February 15, at least in the grand scheme of things. According to the team’s website, they acquired Nikita Soshnikov from the Toronto Maple Leafs. All the Blues gave up was a fourth-round draft pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
What the Blues expect of Soshnikov remains to be seen. There is not much known about him because he is young and unproven, even in the KHL.
In his final KHL season in Russia, Soshnikov scored 14 goals and 32 points in 57 games. Quite frankly, if those are the numbers he puts up in the NHL eventually, the Blues should be happy.
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As far as his NHL career has gone so far, it is way to early to tell. The most we’ve seen of the guy was in 2016-17. Soshnikov played in 56 games with Toronto and scored five goals and nine points.
Those are not exactly numbers that whet the appetite, but that does not mean that is all he can do. Some players play better in a different system with different teammates.
It could be a case that Soshnikov just needs more seasoning and more time playing. In his first NHL season, he scored two goals and five points in 11 games, so he can put up a decent average.
In the end, we don’t even know if this guy will make the NHL. By giving up a fourth-round pick, the Blues are just taking a flyer. There is as much promise or more in this guy than anyone you’re likely to draft in the fourth round, so why not do it?
The only major problem with the deal is that we should not expect to see him soon. Soshnikov is getting ready to come off injured reserve, so he has been practicing. He has to wait on a U.S. visa to even report to the Blues and start practicing with them. The team website says that could take 7-10 days.
On the positive side, he seems to have a solid wrist shot. How often he’s willing to use it will be the question. The Blues need players that are not afraid to shoot.
As mentioned, there is no telling what kind of player this guy will be. He could end up being a great second line player or he might not ever play double-digit games for the Note.
Time will tell, but there’s nothing wrong with picking up someone who has NHL experience when you never know if a fourth rounder will see the league.