The St. Louis Blues have elected to take advantage of their new “working affiliation” with the Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL.
After several seasons of not having a formal relationship with an ECHL (the “Double-A” league of pro hockey) club, the St. Louis Blues entered into a “working affiliation” with the Missouri Mavericks this summer, meaning that they’re allowed to send players there even though the Mavericks’ official parent club is the New York Islanders.
The Blues took quick advantage of that affiliation on Sunday, assigning forward Justin Selman and Dmitrii Sergeev to the Mavericks. Selman and Sergeev, both of whom were signed by the Blues as undrafted free agents, are preparing to begin their first full pro seasons, and they’ll be able to get consistent playing time at Missouri rather than likely getting spotty action with the Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.
The 23-year-old Selman signed with the Blues last spring after completing his career at the University of Michigan. He got into seven games with the Wolves down the stretch, collecting a goal and an assist.
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Sergeev, a 20-year-old stay-at-home defenseman, signed a three-year deal with the Blues in 2014, but the clock on his contract was delayed for two years as he spent the past two seasons with his junior club, the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. With a wealth of prospects–Petteri Lindbohm, Jordan Schmaltz, Tommy Vannelli, and Vince Dunn–and a solid collection of NHL veterans–Chris Butler, Morgan Ellis, and Brad Hunt–set to play for the Wolves this season, there wasn’t going to be much playing time for Sergeev to start the year.
Defensemen Kevin Tansey and Gus Young, both of whom are Wolves property but attended training camp with the Blues (with Tansey, in particular, making a strong impression), were also assigned to Missouri. Forward Emerson Clark, another Wolves player who attended Blues camp, was assigned to another ECHL club, the Tulsa Oilers.
With the Blues making some rather significant changes to their player development structure this past offseason–demanding more control over their AHL affiliate, signing more minor-leaguers than they’ve had in recent years, and developing a formal relationship with an ECHL club–it’s very possible that the Blues want to keep a close eye on the 23-year-old Tansey and the 25-year-old Young, and that’s why they were assigned to Missouri rather than an ECHL club that has more experience working with the Wolves.
With Sunday’s moves, the Wolves are set to begin the 2016-17 season with 24 players: 14 forwards, eight defensemen, and two goalies.