The Blues’ first selection in the 2013 draft will finally return to action.
After going over a year without playing in an official game, St. Louis Blues prospect Tommy Vannelli looks primed to return to action. The AHL Chicago Wolves assigned Vannelli to the ECHL Missouri Mavericks on Monday, so it appears as if he’ll get into a game very soon, albeit at a lower level.
Vannelli, a defenseman who was the Blues’ first pick in the 2013 draft, coming off the board with the 47th selection, suffered a concussion last October, and since the injury was actually diagnosed in November, he hasn’t suited up for a regular season game. Vannelli took the remainder of the 2015-16 season to recover from a concussion, but he was healthy enough to participate in offseason workouts, Prospect Camp, and the Traverse City Prospect Tournament.
However, he suffered another injury (not a concussion) which prevented him from participating in the Blues’ training camp and has kept him from playing in any minor-league games to this point.
It’s very possible that Vannelli will spend an extended period of time with Missouri, as the Wolves already have a solid collection of defensemen: Morgan Ellis, Reid McNeill, Vince Dunn, Petteri Lindbohm, Jordan Schmaltz, Chris Butler, and Brad Hunt, as well as Scooter Vaughan, who’s been playing forward recently but opened the season as a defenseman.
However, there have been situations in the past like this one where the Blues sent a player down to recover his game speed following a long injury layoff, then quickly brought him back to the AHL. We’ll see if that’s the case for Vannelli here.
Vannelli will join a host of other Blues prospects–forward Jacob Doty, defenseman Dmitrii Sergeev, and goalie Ville Husso–as well as a few Wolves players who are out on loan–forward Sam Povorozniouk and defensemen Kevin Tansey and Gus Young–with the Mavericks.