Forward Aleksanteri Kaskimaki adds to the growing pool of Blues prospects.
The St. Louis Blues wrapped up the 2022 NHL Entry Draft yesterday. They selected 6 players between the 1st and 7th rounds, adding to a pipeline that lately has produced quality contributors to the club.
The team made the following picks at the draft:
1st Round: RW Jimmy Snuggerud
A forward with skill that played for USA Hockey’s National Development Team Program in 2022. It is said he has an excellent shot and showed good improvement this season with the Program. He is committed to play college hockey with Minnesota in the upcoming season. He projects currently to be a top 9 forward at the NHL level. He could break into the League within a couple years.
3rd Round: C Aleksanteri Kaskimaki
The Blues traded the rights to goalie Ville Husso to Detroit for this pick, the 73rd overall. Kaskimaki is a playmaking center with a Finnish junior league. He has very good skills with the puck, but some have noted his decision making needs to be sharpened. The Hockey Writers has an in-depth analysis here. He will need to continue his development and shore up his weaknesses before he moves up. He’s quite a ways from the NHL.
3rd Round: D Michael Buchinger
Picked 88th overall, Buchinger is a left-handed defenseman with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. He put up 43 points over 63 games last season for the Storm. His skills are well rounded though not exceptional. He projects, with continued development, to be a mid pairing defenseman in the NHL.
4th Round: D Arseni Koromyslov
This Russian played for SKA St. Petersburg. He doesn’t have flashy numbers, but plays sound defensively. He has size: he’s 6’3 and 180 pounds. He will likely need to put on muscle in order to play in North American leagues, particularly the AHL an eventually the NHL. His ceiling is probably a bottom pairing defenseman.
5th Round: D Marc-Andre Gaudet
The third defensemen the Blues selected in this draft, Gaudet has size also, and played for Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL. He had 38 points in 68 games in 2021-22, which was his 3rd season with the team. He played the most games so far last season that he has in his time with the Titan, and put up the a new high point total. But it will be a while before he’s on the big club’s horizon.
6th Round: F Landon Sim
The Blues rounded out their draft picks with this forward from the London Knights of the OHL. He does not have a lot of size, being only 5’11. His father was an NHL-er. Landon compares his style to Brendan Gallagher, and he plays with a hard-nose style, but won’t score a ton. He projects as a possible bottom 6 forward, in time.
Overall, this is a pretty solid draft. The Blues continue to emphasize forwards in the earlier rounds, and they are building a nice grouping of prospects that they expect will one day contribute to the forward lines in the NHL. Snuggerud and Kaskimaki join Jake Neighbours, Nikita Alexandrov, Simon Robertsson, and Zachary Bolduc as players that should all one day play in the top 9 for the Blues. After being thin for years, it’s nice to have prospects that have legitimate potential.