Sammy Blais did well in limited duty last season, but figures to get pushed out, barring a big showing in camp.
The offseason has been such an exciting one. It unofficially came to an end with the Icebreaker event last Sunday. Thousands of fans turned out to see the new Blues introduced, and to see the new 3rd jersey.
The Blues nailed it by unveiling, basically, the Winter Classic uniforms (again). But it doesn’t feel like a repeat, because the large majority of fans (myself included) loved the WC sweaters. This one is called the Heritage Jersey, and it will be worn on Saturday home games this season.
All 5 new Blues introduced were wearing the new sweaters, and they looked killer. I just love this sweater, and I can’t wait to buy one. I didn’t get one of the Winter Classic sweaters, and I’m glad I don’t have to regret that.
I want to talk about an aspect of the Blues that’s being overlooked amidst the new acquisition fanfare. That is, the farm system.
When the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft concluded, I think we all were disappointed no “Schenn Trade, the Sequel” was pulled off. I expected something to happen – shoot, even the front office had admitted they were willing to part with the first-round pick to make something happen. They knew they needed to add to the roster in a major way. I assumed that the likes of Jeff Skinner or Max Pacioretty would be part of a draft night deal. As we know, the draft came and went without a major move.
The feeling of disappointment started to dissipate somewhat because the Blues had reinforced what has become one of the best pipelines of talent in the league.
I did a search recently, and I found this article from The Sporting News. They have the Blues as the 5th best system, with the following prospects:
Of these five youngsters, only one projects to make the 2018-19 roster, at least to start the season. That is center Robert Thomas. Kostin will need more development time in the AHL Kyrou, by estimation, is close to being NHL-ready. Husso is blocked, for now, at the NHL level, and Bokk was just drafted and will play abroad this year.
But this is exciting! The Blues are developing, graduating and acquiring new talent to replenish those who are on the big club. Schwartz, Tarasenko, Parayko, Barbashev, Allen, Edmundson, Pietrangelo, and Dunn were all drafted and developed by the Blues. They are playing at high levels in the NHL. And the pipeline will continue to produce for years to come. Do you remember when the best the Blues had on the horizon was Mark Rycroft? (No offense intended to Mr. Rycroft.)
The four teams ranked above the Blues by The Sporting News aren’t projected to be playoff-caliber clubs in 2018-19. The Blues are in the very enviable position of having a loaded roster AND a promising farm system. There aren’t many NHL teams in this position.
It’s a very, very exciting time to be a Blues fan.