The Blues have agreed to an entry-level deal with one of their most highly-touted defensive prospects.
The St. Louis Blues announced on Tuesday afternoon that they’ve signed defenseman Jake Walman to a three-year entry-level contract. The 21-year-old blueliner, who spent the past three seasons at Providence University, was a third-round selection by the Blues in 2014, though he’s significantly upped his stock during his collegiate career. He’s the second player the Blues have agreed to an entry-level deal with during the past three days; goalie Evan Fitzpatrick signed a three-year entry-level contract on Sunday.
Walman, a 6-foot-1, 193-pounder, had another impressive season with Providence during his junior campaign, scoring seven goals and adding 18 assists with a plus-11 rating in 39 games. He was coming off shoulder surgery this season, and while his production was very good, it didn’t quite match up to that of his sophomore season, when he had 13 goals and 15 assists with a plus-13 rating in 27 games before going down with the injury that ended his season.
Walman joins an extensive group of highly-touted Blues defensive prospects. Along with former first-rounder Jordan Schmaltz, who has been banished to the press box at the NHL level since Kevin Shattenkirk was traded, the Blues also have 2015 second-rounder Vince Dunn and 23-year-old Finnish blueliner Petteri Lindbohm at the AHL level. 2013 second-rounder Tommy Vannelli, who is still just 22 years old but whose star seems to have been diminished by injury trouble, is also still under contract and is currently playing for the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators.
Walman will report to the AHL Chicago Wolves and will play under an amateur tryout arrangement, which means that a year of his contract won’t be burned over the next couple weeks. He’ll be the second player to join the Wolves on that type of arrangement this season, following 2016 first-rounder Tage Thompson, who joined the Wolves on an ATO after signing a three-year deal earlier this month.