As the defending Stanley Cup Champions, it should come as no surprise that the Blues prospect depth chart is on the thin side.
However, there are a few factors that are the cause and not at all bad ones. The Blues did trade their 2019 first-round pick to Buffalo in a deal that had a lot to do with their Cup win as the Blues added Conn Smyth winner Ryan O’Reilly.
The long-term impact of trading away on of their top prospects in Dominik Bokk may lend to long term pain, which could be compounded by the cancellation of the 2020 playoffs should that come to pass.
The Blues have been a very good drafting and developing franchise in recent history and do still have some quality prospects at the top of this list.
1. Klim Kostin, RW – San Antonio Rampage (AHL)
Drafted: 31st overall in the first round of the 2017 draft by St. Louis
The big Russian has completed three seasons of development in the AHL where he played straight out of his draft year. He was considered one of the more NHL ready prospects at the draft by many so his development could be considered slow since he is yet to crack the roster full time. He did make his NHL debut this season, scoring his first career goal in the four games he dressed for. Kostin provides an imposing physical presence and is not shy to drop the gloves. After a slight dip in production in his sophomore season, last year was his most productive season so far and has him well on track for a full time job in the NHL for the 2020-21 season.
2. Scott Perunovich, D – Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (NCAA)
Drafted: 45th overall in the second round of the 2018 draft by St. Louis
After being passed over in the 2016 and 2017 drafts, the Blues picked up the late blooming undersized defender. Perunovich is a modern style puck-moving defender with excellent mobility and offensive instincts. His 40 point junior season has earned him a Hobey Baker nomination and he was also recognized as College Hockey News Player of the Year. The Blues just signed him to his entry-level contract and for his first pro season to begin in the AHL in the 2020-21 season.
3. Nikita Alexandrov, C – Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
Drafted: 62nd overall in the second round of the 2019 draft by St. Louis
After a strong draft-eligible season in his second year in the CHL, Alexandrov raised the bar in his post-draft season. He turned some heads in the Canada Russia series in the two games he played in the QMJHL leg. That performance secured his WJC roster spot with Russia where he produced eight points in seven games leading Russia to a Silver Medal. That highlighted his breakout season where his 54 points in 42 games were his career best to date. Alexandrov will turn pro next year and likely plays a season or two in the AHL before he is ready to compete for an NHL roster spot.
4. Mitch Reinke, D – San Antonio Rampage (AHL)
Drafted: Signed as a free agent in 2018
After being passed over in the draft, the Blues signed the undersized offensive defenseman to a pro contract after his sophomore season in the NCAA. Reinke now has two season of AHL development under his belt where his point production dipped slightly after his impressive rookie season where he was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team with 45 points in 76 games. His primary competition to crack the NHL roster will come from Perunovich, otherwise, he will have a good chance to crack the Blues roster as he is already 24-years-old.
5. Tyler Tucker, D – Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Drafted: 200th overall in the 7th round of the 2018 draft by St. Louis
The Blues may have found a gem in the seventh round with big, and mobile Tucker. Tucker had a breakout season split between Barrie and Flint who acquired him mid-season for a playoff drive. With the unfortunate cancellation of the OHL season and playoff, Tucker will play his next game in the AHL for the Rampage where he will continue to develop towards becoming a big, two-way and physical NHL defenseman.
6. Mathias Laferriere, RW – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
Drafted: 169th overall in the sixth round of the 2018 draft by St. Louis
Another late round find from the 2018 draft by Blues scouting staff is Laferriere. Scouts look for players in junior that are continually improving and developing and that is Laferriere. His offensive production has been in steady incline throughout his career and earned him some Team Canada WJC consideration as a senior. His CHL career is over and he will turn pro and attempt to continue to trend up. The jump to the AHL from the CHL is the biggest one he will make in his career, so expect slow steps as a rookie and another season or two of AHL development before he becomes an NHL roster contender.
7. Joel Hofer, G – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Drafted: 107th overall in the fourth round of the 2018 draft by St. Louis
To say Hofer had a breakout season would be somewhat of an understatement. After a decent career in the WHL he had a solid start to his senior season in the WHL and earned himself consideration for Team Canada at the WJC. A lack of elite competition helped win him a role on the team, and after Nico Dawes stumbled for Canada, Hofer picked up the ball and ran all the way to a Gold Medal win. The performance made him a household name in Canada and among Blues fans. Hofer already had a small taste of AHL action at the end of the 2018-19 season and will try to play there full-time next year as he turns pro. You can only have so many goalies however so he could see some ECHL time first, which would not be a bad thing.
8. Ville Husso, G – San Antonio Rampage (AHL)
Drafted: 94th overall in the third round of the 2014 draft by St. Louis
Some players have lost their spot to injury. Last year Husso played in just 27 games due to injury and that opened the door for some guy called Jordan Binnington. Well Husso got passed then lapped by Binnington to be sure, but Husso has battled back staying healthy and dressing for 42 AHL games in San Antonio this season. His 2.56 GAA is solid and has the 25-year-old right back on track. Now he just needs an opportunity. Both Binnington and Jake Allen are set become UFA’s after the upcoming season, so one more year in the AHL of development at least looks likely for Husso.
9. Jake Walman, D – San Antonio Rampage (AHL)
Drafted: 82nd overall in the third round of the 2014 draft by St. Louis
Walman has had his prospect stock drop since his monster sophomore season with Providence college where he produced over a point per game production. Since then, he has struggled to find consistency in the AHL. He did enjoy his best season this year and even earned himself his first career NHL game. He will need to come to training camp in the best shape of his career and play the best hockey of his career to win a roster spot. Even if he does and fails to make the opening roster he could still be a recall option throughout the season. It is a make or break year for the 24-year-old.
10. Nolan Stevens, LW – San Antonio Rampage (AHL)
Drafted: 125th overall in the fifth round of the 2016 draft by St. Louis
The Blues have been very patient with Stevens, seeing him play his full four-year term at Northeastern U where had a very good career posting 118 points through 132 games. His rookie season in the AHL was underwhelming posting only nine goals and 18 points in 59 games, but he has continued to develop and his sophomore season was significantly improved with nine goals and 31 points in 50 games. Stevens has good size and has a nose for the net. He plays a solid two-way game and competes hard. He could play out as a solid third or fourth line player after another season of AHL development.