Fabbri remains the marquis name in 2014’s draft class.
The NHL draft is a peculiar institution on the landscape of pro sports. In baseball, the teams must sign their selections before assigning them to their sundry affiliate teams. In football, there are no affiliate teams, so all of a team’s picks must make the roster or be cut. But in the NHL, draft picks go on with their collegiate or otherwise professional careers after the draft. Players aren’t signed until they’re ready to begin their entry-level contracts.
There are many tiers of leagues for ice hockey in the US, Canada, and Europe. Thus, it can become easy for even serious fans to lose track of all the players that their NHL team selects over the years.
Let’s look at the 2014 Draft for the St. Louis Blues and see, the best we can, where all the picks are right now:
Round 1: Robby Fabbri, C/LW
Fabbri, as we know, is attempting to come back from his 2nd knee operation. He’s healthy, but the Blues are wisely taking their time with him in practice. He hasn’t yet played in a regular-season game, and there’s no concrete timeline for that either. Robby is a very talented player and the hope is he’ll (eventually) have a long and productive career in the league. But no one’s relying on that just yet.
Round 2: Ivan Barbashev, C/W
“Barby” is in a bit of a “prove it” situation. He needs to produce more, and he will be given every opportunity this season to do that. He will have better line mates than he’s used to. Skill plays to skill: playing with Thomas and Kyrou and Blais will lead to more points than last season’s lines which had him with Jaskin, Paajarvi, Megan, and Sundqvist to name a few.
Round 2 (Blues had two 2nd-rounders): Maxim Letunov, RW
Letunov is currently in the San Jose Sharks system. The Blues traded him to the Phoenix Coyotes in the Zbynek Michalek deal. He recently signed his ELC. Fear the Fin did an update piece on him, which you can read here.
Round 3: Jake Walman, D
Walman was one part of a trio of promising young defensemen the Blues had in the pipeline, along with Jordan Schmaltz and Vince Dunn. Both of those are on the Blues right now, and Jake is not. Last season he split time between the Chicago Wolves and the Binghamton Devils, and was a collective -7. This season he’s at San Antonio, and has 2 assists in three games played. Odds are he’ll be called up at some point to cover for an injury.
Round 4 (1st pick): Ville Husso, G
Husso doesn’t need much said. He continues to play well and you could argue he’s NHL-ready. If either Jake Allen or Chad Johnson miss time for injuries, Husso will get the call-up and see playing time. He’s the goalie of the future.
Round 4 (2nd pick): Austin Poganski, RW
He just signed his ELC with the Blues and will play in San Antonio this year.
Round 5: Jaedon Deschenau, LW
Have I said that it can be hard to keep track of players across the different pro/amateur/European leagues? In the 16/17 season, he notched 15 points in the AHL, playing for the Bakersfield Condors. Not great, so he then played for a Swiss league team in 2017/18, according to Elite Prospects, and he was much more productive. This year he’s with a German team and has 11 points in 10 games played. He’s listed at 5’9, which is less than ideal for the NHL.
Round 6: C. J. Yakimowicz, RW
Yakimowicz has spent several seasons in the OHL, and is now playing for Dalhousie University. He does not project as a regular NHL-caliber player.
Round 6 (2nd pick): Samuel Blais, RW
Though not regarded as one of the top prospects the Blues have in their system, he impressed in camp last year and even more so this year. This year he will get opportunity to show if he can stick in the NHL.
Round 7: Dwyer Tschantz, RW
He’s a large man at 6’6. Unfortunately, his collegiate career has been hampered by injuries. It seems he has tried to play as a power forward, but his numbers are low. During the 2015 prospect camp, he took some shifts as a defenseman. He will play this season in the ECHL.
There you have it – a brief rundown on all players selected by the Blues in the 2014 NHL Draft. Of course, the verdict on this draft class is far from final. But right now, 3 players are on the club right now, and a 4th (Husso) projects as a regular. Just one (Letunov) is no longer in the organization.
If Fabbri is able to make a complete comeback and play as a legit top 6 forward, and if Barbashev can solidify his game and play a reliable two-way game, then I would categorize this draft as very successful.