The St. Louis Blues released their 40-man training camp roster. It had no surprises, but is more than meets the eye too.
With the St. Louis Blues starting their 10-day training camp, their roster was nothing to really marvel at. We basically know who is going to make the team.
If you really take a look and think on it, the 40-man roster shows quite a bit. Whether it reveals how much the team thinks of a prospect or is a reward to players varies, but it’s there.
The first thing the roster shows is that the Blues have confidence in Scott Perunovich. With so many defenseman on the roster and no preseason games to showcase yourself, it would be an extreme long shot for him to make the roster. Nevertheless, it’s a good boos in confidence and experience.
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The Blues only needed to bring 36 players to camp. They decided on 40 to give them more scrimmage options and also because some of these players need the look with so little scouting opportunities there.
Tyler Tucker and Hugh McGing are both prospects with a good amount of upside. The Blues cannot just send them to the AHL, whenever that begins, and hope they’re on track. They needed to be included in this training camp to see how they measure up to NHL guys.
Steve Santini and Sam Anas were likely included so the Blues can see where they belong. Though it might not be fair for their own development, if both players have a good camp, they might be solid taxi squad players. They have pro hockey experience, which would be beneficial if anyone on the Blues roster gets sick or injured.
Another interesting inclusion is the addition of Jake Neighbors to the 40-man roster. Any team has high hopes on a first-round draft pick, but it was expected Neighbors would be playing with his junior team.
However, both his WHL team and lower-tier junior team joined on loan had their season postponed. So, the Blues are keeping Neighbors around to get him experience and keep him skating in meaningful practices as opposed to individual work.
Neighbors won’t make the team, and likely not even the taxi squad, but it’s good for his development to play against the big boys.
In the disappointing category, the absence of Erik Foley tells us he is no closer to returning. Foley was acquired back in the Paul Stastny trade and had potential, but concussion problems led to vision issues and he may never be the same.
Perhaps the only real surprise is the exclusion of Evan Fitzpatrick in goal. There was a lot of speculation that Joel Hofer had passed up Fitzpatrick on the depth chart, but to not be invited at all has to be a punch to the gut.
The Blues might explain it away with only having 40 men in camp. I’m pretty sure you’re allowed an unlimited amount of goaltenders, so Fitzpatrick was just not brought in.
The reason this is surprising is that he might have been battling for a taxi squad spot. Hofer needs game time, so he’s bound to land in Springfield of the AHL.
Jon Gillies makes the most sense for the taxi squad due to his NHL experience, but the opposing thought process suggested he could be utilized to mentor Hofer in Springfield and give that team a more reliable backup.
With only four goalies in camp, the decision is all but made. It would seem to indicate the Blues will use Jordan Binnington and Ville Husso on the NHL roster, have Gillies on the taxi squad and Hofer in Springfield. Who ends up as the Thunderbirds backup remains to be seen, but the Blues might leave that up to Springfield to sign their own.
One final thing of note is that Jordan Kyrou seems to have changed his number. Anas will wear 33 in camp and Kyrou will wear the best number of all, 25. He wore 25 in junior, so it was always surprising he made the switch with the Blues since nobody of note has worn 25 in several years. Hopefully, he can do the number pride since it has been some time since anyone has for the Blues.