St. Louis Blues News: Jake Neighbours Headed Back To Juniors

Jake Neighbours #21(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Jake Neighbours #21(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Initially, it seemed an odd choice for the St. Louis Blues to keep Jake Neighbours around the franchise as long as they did. It was even more surprising when he even got moved into the taxi squad.

Overall, it was known that this was a temporary situation. While Neighbours had a decent training camp, especially considering this was his first time going up against professionals, he did not do anything that would grant him access to becoming a pro so quickly.

The Blues were forced into a holding pattern with their prospect. They had no AHL team to send him to, even just to practice. The Canadian junior leagues were all up in the air as to when, or even if, they would play.

Thus, the Blues just kind of kept him around. They wanted him to at least get some form of repetitions and keep on his skates, as opposed to sitting at home in Airdrie, Alberta.

Today (January 29) the Western Hockey League, one of the member leagues in the CHL, got permission from the province of Alberta to resume operations and on-ice activity. Neighbours’ junior team is the Edmonton Oil Kings, which is in Alberta, so he now has a place to go.

Neighbours is well built and solid, weighing 195 at 5’11. However, at 18, he still has growing to do, physically and as a player.

It’s better for him to challenge himself against his own age group right now. Once he hits that point where there’s nothing more to prove, ala Jordan Kyrou a few years ago, then it’s time to move up to the pros.

The WHL’s Central Division will play a 24-game schedule. Since many AHL teams will only play around that many, or fewer, it makes even more sense for Neighbours to get top minutes for the Oil Kings instead of maybe a handful of games with the Utica Comets, whom the Blues have no say with since they are the Vancouver Canucks affiliate and the Blues are just sharing.

Next. Kyrou is staying put, no matter the rumor. dark

The league will not start camp until February 12. Neighbours is being assigned to his team now because players must enter Alberta by January 30 to begin their mandatory quarantine period.