St. Louis Blues: 3 Key Factors Driving Jake Neighbours Potential in 2024-25

Jake Neighbours played 77 games for the St. Louis Blues in 2023-24. Fans have every reason to believe that Neighbours could be a supreme talent as he enters his fourth season with the Blues.
St Louis Blues v Boston Bruins
St Louis Blues v Boston Bruins / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

Initially drafted in the first round of the 2020 draft, Jake Neighbours comes with somewhat high expectations.

At 22 years old, Neighbours is an often-overlooked young player who could be a real difference-maker for the St. Louis Blues moving forward.

There remain several reasons why his performance could only get better.

Jake Neighbours held his own for the St. Louis Blues in 2023-24

Neighbours played in 77 games, with an average ice time of 15:42.

His time on the ice indicates he wasn’t considered a formidable threat in one of the key lines.

However, he scored 27 goals, recorded 11 assists, and finished with 38 points.

The 2023-24 season was his first year playing in almost an entire season.

He played 43 games the year before, averaging 12:25 on the ice.

What makes things more interesting is Neighbours and his 27 goals tied with Pavel Buchnevich.

Neighbours ranked No. 3 on the team in goals scored, with Jordan Kyrou leading the pack.

However, both Kyrou and Buchnevich played on average three to four minutes longer than Neighbours did in each game.

While Neighbours didn’t mirror Kyrou’s first seventy-plus season, it’s a start and perhaps a taste of the future.

Drew Bannister snagged the job for this player-type  

Say what you will about Drew Bannister, but he can coach and has a proven track record of developing young players.

Bannister’s ability to bring out the most of prospects has been highlighted throughout his career in the AHL.

While general manager Doug Armstrong is betting on an even stronger performance from Robert Thomas and, hopefully, Jordan Kyrou, players like Neighbours are flying under the radar.

If Neighbours conditions himself this offseason to further development and even nurturing from proven veterans, he positions himself as a serious contender as a top St. Louis Blues player.

Bannister’s job is to mentor, coach, and bring the best out of Neighbours. Make no mistake: Bannister’s goals are to develop these types of players to accompany the talent of Thomas and Kyrou.

Stats and history prove that 2023-24 was just the beginning

Age matters here. Neighbours was 21 years old for the majority of the season.

Using Robert Thomas as an example, Neighbours is expected to develop further and contribute even more to goal scoring.

Let’s be honest. Neighbours was close to being the leading goal scorer on the Blues this year, only four goals short of Jordan Kyrou. He played less and is barely 22 years old.

You can be sure that Armstrong has players like Neighbours on his radar and anticipates further production and perhaps even stardom.

With prospects such as Dalibor Dvorsky and Jimmy Snuggerud expected to excel in the upcoming years, Neighbours can legitimately find himself in the mix of being one of the most promising young players on the roster.

It is important to acknowledge that not every first-round pick is guaranteed to succeed or develop into a great player, so we must take a step back and consider this reality.

However, Neighbours had a solid first year, which provides a strong foundation for him to expand upon and become an even greater scoring threat.