Former St. Louis Blues first-round pick Jake Neighbours got his first look at the NHL this season and was eventually sent back down to juniors but has played well in the WHL.
Jake Neighbours might have been the best player in training camp to start the season for the St. Louis Blues. He seemed destined for another full season with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL, but he earned every minute of NHL action this season.
He didn’t last past the nine-game trial run, but Neighbours might have done enough in his nine games as a St. Louis Blue to almost guarantee a spot on the Blues roster next season.
He didn’t light the world on fire on the stat sheet during his time in St. Louis. Although, playing on the team’s fourth line for most of his nine games sure did not help.
Neighbours has done a lot for himself since departing St. Louis. He was reassigned to the Edmonton Oil Kings for the fifth time in his career.
This year, he has performed at a stellar rate. In 10 games for the Oil Kings, he has five goals, 13 assists, and 18 points. He posted 23 goals, 47 assists, and 70 points in his last full season with Edmonton in 64 games.
He is well on his way to aging out of the tournament not only because of his age but also because he has dominated the league three separate times now.
Perhaps more impressive than his statistical accolades with the Edmonton Oil Kings, he was also chosen to represent Team Canada as an alternate captain at the World Junior Classic.
In Team Canada’s first game against the Czech Republic on Sunday, he recorded an assist for his only point of the tournament so far.
It isn’t a question of if Neighbours will be on the team for the 2022-23 season, but where he will play in the St. Louis Blues lineup.
The Blues roster construction will play a significant role in where Neighbours will play in St. Louis. If he posts another 20-goal season with Edmonton and a great performance with Team Canada, playing on the top line with O’Reilly and Perron would not be out of the question.
The Blues drafted a player who will be in their top-6 for a long time. As long as he stays healthy and performs at the level he is in juniors, and with Canada’s national team, Neighbours will be back in St. Louis in no time.