About a month and a half into the 2023/24 NHL season for the St. Louis Blues, one player in particular is starting to stand out. It’s not a top tier player like Jordan Kyrou or Brayden Schenn, but 3rd year Jake Neighbours is heating up in his first full NHL season, after playing half the games last season and a fraction before that.
The 21-year-old, originally drafted by St. Louis in the 1st round of the 2020 draft, had either a goal or a point in each of his last 5 games, before the streak was broken against Minnesota. Still, Neighbours scored a goal in five out of seven to end November, including a 2-goal performance against the Blackhawks and Buffalo. The Blues as a team would win 4 of those games too.
In total, Neighbours has nine goals, plus an assist for 10 points as December starts. According to estimates at the moment, he’s on track for a 20-plus goal campaign, adding 4 assists for 31 points total.
If he keeps this up, those estimates could stretch and then maybe balloon, which would possibly put Neighbours into the 30 goals margin, quite impressive for how young a player he is. Given his stellar playmaking ability, especially off the boards, and physical strength that makes him a brick wall against opposing players looking to check him, you’re probably not surprised he’s this good already. Neighbours, simply put, is a great all-around player for the Blues, and they’ve definitely been looking for someone like him since their glory days in 2018-19.
Of course, Neighbours isn’t the only youngster getting attention. In the first few weeks, Connor Bedard was the talk of the NHL, and may still be, especially after he scored a goal in each of his first 6 starts in a row. But this is about St. Louis.
If Neighbours’ playmaking rubs off on his teammates, come mid-April, the Blues could make another potential playoff run. They’re 4th in the Central at the moment, 3 points behind Winnipeg, so a win streak could crank things up. For Neighbours himself, he has a bright future ahead and Blues fans may be happy that’s starting to emerge.