St. Louis Blues 2024 NHL Draft Profile 1.0 involves an imposing blueliner

The St. Louis Blues are lucky to fall into a draft stacked with blueliners, and one in particular stands out over all the others.
Calgary Hitmen v Winnipeg Ice
Calgary Hitmen v Winnipeg Ice / Jonathan Kozub/GettyImages
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Other strong attributes Carter Yakemchuk brings

It’s common to see skating as a work-in-progress among larger defensemen, and Carter Yakemchuk’s isn’t great by any means, given his slow acceleration. Top speed is there, so I’m labeling his skating as decent, but with the potential to evolve over the next few seasons. 

Agility and edgework are other reasons his skating isn’t bad, as he can fake out opponents with relative ease, especially when he hits top speed. He can evade others with relative ease, so while his 6’3 frame helps, it’s not all about keeping the puck out of an opponent’s reach using only his length.

By now, you probably have a hunch that Carter Yakemchuk possesses some outstanding stickhandling, something implied above and in the previous section. That stickhandling also bolsters another aspect of his offensive game - passing. It’s one reason why he’s so comfortable skating toward opponents with the puck, drawing them in and leaving him with several open teammates deep in the offensive zone as the below video courtesy of NHL Draft Pros points out.

Passing is another strong attribute for the most part

The same goes when he’s one-on-one against an opponent with a high compete level. Yakemchuk doesn’t panic in these situations, trusting his stickhandling ability, keeping his head up the entire time, and creating enough space to allow for a teammate to get open. And he’s able to make all the passes in these situations, whether it’s an eventual drop-pass or a backhand; there’s no limitations to what Yakemchuk offers, even under pressure. 

That said, he will sometimes panic under pressure and make a desperation move, leading to an easy turnover. If an opponent skates in out of nowhere and Yakemchuk has the puck, he’s prone to making some ill-fated decisions with it in an attempt to make something happen. 

But there are other times when he will take on an opponent, and simply deke his way into some open ice and freeze them, giving him the option to either shoot or dish the puck to an open forward and let them fire the puck into twine.