The St. Louis Blues re-signed one of their depth defensive prospects. It did not generate much buzz, if any at all.
There’s an old saying that asks if a tree falls and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? The St. Louis Blues might have answered that question.
The Blues re-signed their defensive prospect, Jake Walman, to a two-year extension. The contract signing generated no response at all, really.
There were a couple social media posts, passing on the news. Some had almost no comments at all and the others were your general I hope to see him get a shot soon type of response.
In general, Walman has lost almost all the buzz he had from just a couple years ago. He remains on the fringe with the team, but as far as fans go there is little excitement surrounding his name at the moment.
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Walman is in that danger zone as a player. He is not old, by any means, clocking in at 24 years old heading into whatever amounts to the coming season.
However, by that age, players start to fall into certain categories as far as an organization is concerned. If you haven’t really cracked the NHL by your mid-20’s, it is unlikely your career will see more than a handful of games at that level.
The Blues are still currently saying all the right things. Team GM Doug Armstrong said that Walman’s style still fits well with how the league is going.
“Jake had a solid season in the AHL,” Armstrong told the Post-Dispatch on Thursday. “His skating and agility fit well in today’s game, and we are looking forward to Jake coming to St. Louis and competing for a position on the team.”
The Blues also showed some faith in Walman both in the contract and during the 2020 playoffs. Walman was included in the bubble roster, so he got to practice with the team. He also got a one-way contract in the second year of this deal, so by then it is put up or shut up time.
On the flip side, what else is Armstrong going to say? You don’t want to crush an employee’s confidence by saying there’s a log jam at defense and Walman has little chance to crack the roster.
In years past, his problem might have been a lack of self-confidence or the game being too fast. Now, the Blues roster has transitioned a little and, assuming they eventually sign Vince Dunn, there might be just too many similar players ahead of him in the pecking order.
It’s hard to break through when guys have more experience and play the same style as you.
Personally, I have nothing wrong with Walman. If he has a breakout year and joins the Blues, great.
I just get the feeling that would have happened already, if it was going to. Hopefully I’m wrong and he lives up to the potential we were all talking about a few years ago.
If nothing else, he’s an uncostly player making less than $1 million per season if/when on the NHL roster.