St. Louis Blues: Unveiling the Potential of the Two New Signees

The St. Louis Blues signed two previous third-round draft picks to two-way entry-level contracts this week. Is there potential for either of them to make a difference in the NHL?
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Terry Wyatt/GettyImages

A few weeks following the Swedish signing frenzy that GM Doug Armstrong went on, the St. Louis Blues locked in two additional players this week with two-way entry-level contracts.

Can either of the St. Louis Blues draft picks make it to the NHL soon?

Anything's possible. Here are the two prospects:

Juraj Pekarcik

Juraj Pekarcik,18, the former 2023 third-round draft pick out of Slovakia, snagged the longer deal.

Pekarcik played in the USHL in the 2023-24 season, scoring 9 goals and recording 50 assists.

In 11 playoff games, he scored an impressive 3 goals and 7 assists.

The figures are encouraging, proving his intensity increased in postseason play.

Any potential future NHL career relies heavily on his long-term development.

However, his first season in the USHL (2023-24) is promising.

The current expectations involve Pekarcik joining the Springfield Thunderbirds, the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.

Aleksanteri Kaskimaki

Aleksanteri Kaskimaki, 20, mainly played at the center position in the Finnish top-level hockey league for the HIFK Helsinki in 2023-24.

Similar to Pekarcik, Kaskimaki was picked in the third round, however, in the 2022 draft.

For Helsinki this season, he played in 48 games, scoring 10 goals and recording 7 assists.

In his long junior career, Kaskimaki won the bronze medal in the 2022 IIHF U-18 World Juniors tournament.

He has the potential, but he still needs to grow.

"Gifted offensive center with strong skating and stickhandling. Needs to improve his defensive game and on-puck habits, but could be a top-six producer at the NHL level," Dobber Prospects wrote in his original draft card.

The GM of the St. Louis Blues, Doug Armstrong, publicly acknowledged Kaskimaki's anticipated professional career.

However, it's unclear where he will be playing next season.

No matter what, the Blues and their affiliates will have a difficult mission of turning mid-round picks into dependable NHL players.