St. Louis Blues Future Is In The Future, Not Quite Yet

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 06: Tage Thompson /

Over the past few seasons, the St. Louis Blues have done pretty well at the NHL Draft. However, promise does not automatically mean success.

The St. Louis Blues have drafted pretty well the last few years, despite not having incredibly high picks. St. Louis has done the best with what they could get and the future could be very bright.

However, there are two key parts to that phrase – future and could be. The main part of that is that the future is in the future.

There are many Blues fans wanting the future to be now. The problem is that rushing things can cause just as many problems as it could fix.

With the recent slide of the team down the standings, fans have started clamoring for the future to be now. There is a growing sentiment that the team should bring up as many prospects as they can.

There are several problems with this belief.

Rookies make rookie mistakes

While it is understandable that fans want to see what these guys have, they are not going to be perfect. They are going to make rookie mistakes.

Some would argue that you might as well get those growing pains out of the way in what could be a lost season. That brings up two trains of thought.

Not everyone thinks this season is lost. As awfully as this season has gone lately, the Blues are only a few points out of a playoff spot. If you go on a winning streak of a few games, you’re right back in the thick of things.

You might gain the advantage of youthful exuberance. You might also put guys not ready to handle the pressure in critical situations that might cost them points.

Most fans ask why one playoff round would be worth it. From a financial standpoint for the franchise, one playoff round could be the difference in being in the red or black. Additionally, you get younger guys that seem to be staying with the NHL club like Tage Thompson and Ivan Barbashev more experience in the tough situations.

If you bring up even more untested players, you could get a boost. You also run the risk of being too young and too raw.

Exposing players too young isn’t always good

Call it irrational fear, but handing the keys to the car to young players is not always a good idea. If you have veteran leadership to help them along, it can be a great thing. The Blues would essentially be placing some of these guys in top line positions. That might be too much.

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The Blues have done this in the past. With draft picks and highly touted players ready, they gave the franchise over to David Backes, TJ Oshie, David Perron, Erik Johnson, Patrik Berglund and more. The results were not terrible, but their inability to turn their talent into team success grew old.

The players had chance after chance and all we heard was about messages getting stale and new voices being needed. Those players slowly got shipped out, but now the same cycle seems to be happening.

The Blues got good years and decent production out of all those guys and they became fan favorites. The flip side is that without any veterans to really help them along, they never got over the hump. If we do the same thing again, we run the risk of setting this team back another decade.

There are enough guys on the current team that would be massaging the younger players along, but putting them in the pressure cooker of a playoff race is still different. You don’t want to stunt their growth before it even starts.

On top of that, you don’t always get good production from young guys. For every Sydney Crosby, there are ten guys that did not hit their stride until they played a handful of seasons.

In the case of someone like Klim Kostin, he has not shot out of the gate like fans hoped. He is finally acclimating to the AHL. Thrusting him into the NHL suddenly might set him back as opposed to pushing him forward.

Is it worth it for each individual player

The problem with prospects is there are so many variables that actually go into account with potentially playing them.

One of the biggest issues is the potential of losing a year on their contract. In baseball the situation is simpler. For example, Kris Bryant got an extra year on his rookie deal because the Cubs kept him out of the majors for so many days.

The NHL has similar rules, though they are more complicated. Basically, if a player fits a certain profile, they can only play 10 games in the NHL before they lose the ability to have their contract automatically extended. It is called an Entry Level Slide.

This is the explanation from Cap Friendly:

"For example, if a player signed an ELC for three seasons from 2015-16 to 2017-2018, and their contract slides, their contract is now effective from 2016-17 to 2018-19. An exception to this rule is that if the player is 19 on September 15 of the first year of their contract, and turns 20 between September 16 and December 31, their contract does not slide."

I’m no expert on this part, but I’m almost certain Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas fit this category. Are we sure the Blues should give up a year of flexibility and player control simply so these guys can get their feet wet in the NHL now?

If the season is lost, you gain them nothing in terms of playoff experience. You also lose a potential year on the back end of their contract for a handful of games.

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The truth is, it just is not worth it. We are all excited to see these guys wear the Note. Their potential could be what the doctor ordered, possibly as early as next season in a few cases.

However, bringing anyone that is not currently in the AHL up would be a waste.

It is extremely hard to be patient at a time like this. For now, that is what we fans must do. We cannot forsake the future for the sake of the now when it would not likely change any outcome.