St. Louis Blues Draft Pick Wins World Junior Championship Gold

The St. Louis Blues are always keeping an eye on the future with their draft picks and prospects. The future could be bright as their draftees continue winning.

The St. Louis Blues have had a lot of good luck with their drafts over the last few years, at least in terms of player success prior to joining the organization. Lots of their picks are getting the taste of winning before even turning pro.

Evan Fitzpatrick won the Memorial Cup a couple years ago. He defeated then-junior phenom Robert Thomas. Both of them won their respective leagues in the CHL.

Alexei Toropchenko claimed the OHL championship in the spring of 2019. The Russian had 13 goals and 19 points helping the Guelph Storm to the title.

Now, Joel Hofer has joined that group of winners. He helped Team Canada to the gold medal at the 2019-20 World Junior Championships.

Canada was not expected to do as well this tournament. Team USA were heavy favorites and Canada was seeing where they would go, as they had one of their most talented rosters in recent memory but also the youngest ever. Youth/inexperience often leads to mistakes, but that was not the case.

USA had a veteran team, as far as junior ranks go. Unfortunately, they got beaten 1-0 by Finland in the Quarterfinal Round. Showing how fickle the juniors can be, Team USA destroyed Team Russia (eventual finalist) 6-1 and also beat Team Finland in the Round Robin portion of the tournament.

Team Canada was simply slow and steady throughout. They beat the Americans 6-4 to open the tournament. Their only loss all tournament was a 6-0 loss to Russia.

Hofer was not even expected to make this squad, but earned his way on with solid play. He was not the starter to begin the tournament, but again, played his way into it.

Hofer played in six games, started five and won all five and had a shutout in one game. He led all goaltenders at the tournament with a 1.60 goals against. His .939 save percentage was also at the top.

The Blues had multiple things to watch in the World Junior Final. Another of their draft picks, Nikita Alexandrov was playing for Team Russia, who ended up falling to Canada and claiming the silver medal.

Alexandrov had some personal success though. He scored the first goal of the final to make it 1-0 Russia. He finished with two goals and eight points for the whole tournament.

Always good to have people in the pipeline with good hand-eye coordination.

You can see highlights of the entire game below.

Hofer has a long way to go. He is only 19 and in his first full season with the Portland Winterhawks after being traded last season.

Still, he’s off to a good start. Beyond his gold medal, Hofer has 27 games in the WHL under his belt in 2019-20. He’s got a 1.81 goals against and .937 save percentage.

Alexandrov is also off to a good start with the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL. He’s currently got 14 goals and 23 points in 19 games. That is just one season after setting personal marks with 27 goals and 61 points in 64 games.

Next: Blues Must Fix Defensive Issues Fast

If these kids continue to grow and improve, the future is bright for the Blues. These players are already off on the right foot, learning what it takes to win.