St. Louis Blues: Taking a look at Jake Neighbours in the first-round of the 2020 NHL Draft

Jake Neighbours, chosen 26th overall in the first-round of the NHL Draft, is establishing himself as a promising player for the St. Louis Blues. How does Neighbours stack up against his prized draft-class selectees?
St Louis Blues v Seattle Kraken
St Louis Blues v Seattle Kraken / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Jake Neighbours came out of nowhere in the 2023-24 season and scored 27 goals, tying Pavel Buchnevich for third on the team in goals scored for the St. Louis Blues.

Neighbours has shown his talent when given the opportunity, and at his age—only 22—hockey pundits are excited about his future.

How does Jake Neighbours performance compare to other highly regarded players from his draft class?

Top 3 Picks:

No 1. Pick: Alexis Lafreniere, LW, 22 years old

2020-21: 56 games, 12 goals,  9 assists, 21 points.
2021-22: 79 games, 19 goals, 12 assists,  31 points.
2022-23: 81 games, 16 goals, 23 assists, 39 points.
2023-24: 82 games, 28 goals, 29 assists, 57 points.

No. 2  Pick: Quinton Byfield, RW, 21 years old

2020-21: 6 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 points.
2021-22: 40 games, 5 goals, 5 assists, 10 points.
2022-23: 53 games, 3 goals, 19 assists, 22 points.
2023-24: 80 games, 20 goals, 35 assists, 55 points.

No. 3 Pick: Tim Stutzle, C, 22 years old

2020-21: 53 games, 12 goals,  17 assists, 29 points.
2021-22: 79 games, 22 goals, 36 assists,  58 points.
2022-23: 78 games, 39 goals, 51 assists, 90 points.
2023-24: 75 games, 18 goals, 52 assists, 70 points.

No. 26 Pick: Jake Neighbours, LW, 22 years old

2021-22: 9 games, 1 goals, 1 assist,  2 points.
2022-23: 43 games, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points.
2023-24: 77 games, 27 goals, 11 assists, 38 points.

Neighbours may not be on par with the top-three picks of the 2020 draft, but there’s still hope for even greater achievements in the future.  

First, he only played a significant number of games in 2022 and 2023. While the attributes of each of the four skaters are different, considering the 2023-24 season, Neighbours scored 27 goals, one shy of Alexis Lafreniere’s 28.

But more telling is the total ice time.

2023-24 TOI:

Alexis Lafreniere: 17:16
Quinton Byfield: 16:46
Tim Stutzle: 21: 07
Jake Neighbours: 15:42

Given Neighbours ice time and partial breakout season, expectations are set higher for him entering the next season of play. All three skaters we compared him with have played in the league for an entire year longer, played in more games, and spent more time on the NHL ice.

Neighbours had a great season, though his assists numbers need improvement. With 145 shots on goal and an 18.5% shooting percentage, Neighbours showcased his ability to be a dominant scorer.

In comparison:

Alexis Lafreniere: 217 shots on goal, 12.9 shooting percentage.
Quinton Byfield: 161 shots on goal, 12.4 shooting percentage.
Tim Stutzle: 192 shots on goal, 9.4 shooting percentage.

Simply put, Neighbours was a more serious scoring threat in terms of his percentage. It might seem premature to compare him to the top-three picks in his draft class, but coach Drew Bannister and GM Doug Armstrong know they have a talented player who may be the steal of the 2020 draft.

Are expectations high? Yes, but not out of reach for the quality player that Neighbours is turning into.

Keep your eyes on Neighbours; he could be the next star in St. Louis Blues history.