More players will be added after the NHL Draft, but 15 players are already set to attend Blues prospect camp later this month.
The St. Louis Blues announced on Monday that they’ll hold their annual prospect camp at the IceZone from June 28-July 1. Thanks to an expansive collection of prospects, including Vince Dunn, Mackenzie MacEachern, and Samuel Blais, graduating to pro hockey last fall, this will likely be the smallest group of prospects the Blues have had in town for camp in quite a while. There’s still plenty of intrigue to be found among this year’s group, though, which will grow after the Blues add more players in the draft this weekend.
The initial roster features 15 players, divided up into “Team Tkachuk” and “Team MacInnis,” named after Blues legends Keith Tkachuk and Al MacInnis. (The ironic thing about those team names is that both Tkachuk and MacInnis both have recently-drafted sons playing for organizations other than the Blues.)
Team Tkachuk members include goalie Evan Fitzpatrick, defensemen Niko Mikkola and Grant Frederic (who will be in camp on an amateur tryout), and forwards Adam Musil, Filip Helt, Dwyer Tschantz, Nolan Stevens, and Devin Brosseau, who will also attend as a tryout player.
Team MacInnis will feature goaltender Luke Opilka, defenseman Jake Walman, and forwards Tage Thompson, Jordan Kyrou, Austin Poganski, Tanner Kaspick, and Nikolaj Krag-Christensen.
The most highly-regarded prospects among the group are Thompson and Kyrou, the Blues’ first two picks in the 2016 draft, and Walman, a 2014 third-rounder who broke out at Providence College. All three of those players saw action near the end of the season for the AHL Chicago Wolves this past season, and while Kyrou is likely headed back to juniors again next season, Thompson and Walman could be depth options for the Blues as the 2017-18 season goes on.
Sleepers among this group include Musil, a center who plays similarly to Patrik Berglund at 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds, and Mikkola, a big blueliner who looks kind of like a lefthanded-shooting version of Colton Parayko. Mikkola will spend at least two more seasons playing professionally in Finland before coming to North America, but Musil is set to spend his first full season in the AHL this coming season and could factor into the Blues’ plans if they suffer a wave of injuries.