Plenty of players making a jump in St. Louis Blues Top 20 rankings

By Suraj Sukumar

Pheonix Copley - St. Louis Blues

Photo: Blues prospect Pheonix Copley may have needed a better performance this season to earn another contract from the Blues organization (courtesy of Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

 

10. (12) Petteri Lindbohm, D, 6.5B
Drafted 6th round, 176th overall, 2012

After a solid performance in the NHL last season, Lindbohm spent most of the 2015-16 campaign with the Wolves but has been a solid major part of their blueline. He has three goals and eight assists in 43 games but has been playing significant minutes for the AHL club. Lindbohm has been back and forth several times between the Wolves and the Blues, and certainly represents a solid depth option for the NHL club. He is a good skater with a well-rounded game but needs to take his abilities to the next level if he hopes to crack the Blues NHL roster on a permanent next season.

9. (18) Joel Edmundson, D, 6.5B
Drafted 2nd round, 46th overall, 2011

Cracking the NHL lineup this season, Edmundson is a big defenseman who has solid skating ability for his size. He has been playing on the Blues’ bottom pair and maintained that role for most of the season. The 23-year old has yet to score a goal at the NHL level but has eight assists in 59 games. However, even without the offensive production, he has flirted with an even larger role on the team and has been given an opportunity to play with Alex Pietrangelo on the top unit. Playing primarily a shutdown role, Edmundson has maintained a minus-4 rating and should gain plenty of experience as the Blues get set for the NHL playoffs. 

8. (11) Jake Walman, D, 6.5B
Drafted 3rd round, 82nd, overall, 2014

A potentially huge draft steal, Walman has turned heads with Providence College in what might have been a phenomenal sophomore season. He had 13 goals and 15 assists in 27 games before going down with an injury. The team announced that he will have season-ending surgery due to a lingering injury from December. He was also invited to Team Canada’s WJC camp but was unable to attend due to injury. He is an incredibly strong skater and has solid playmaking ability from the blueline. Despite the setback, Walman is a very impressive offensive defenseman and could be a prospect to watch by next season.

7. (10) Pheonix Copley, G, 7.0B
Acquired via trade with Washington Capitals, July 2015

After coming over from the Washington Capitals, Copley has had an immediate impact for the Blues. Splitting most of the season with Jordan Binnington in the AHL, Copley enjoyed a few call-ups due to injury but played in just one game. With Brian Elliot and Jake Allen carrying the load, Copley has been a go-to netminder in the AHL. In 33 games, Copley has a 2.83 goals against average and 0.905 save percentage and will continue to battle Binnington for starts as neither goalie has really separated themselves this season.

6. (7) Vince Dunn, D, 7.5C
Drafted 2nd round, 56th overall, 2015

Showing consistent offensive abilities and a high-energy style, Dunn has become a standout defenseman in the OHL over his three seasons with the Niagara IceDogs. With 12 goals and 31 assists in 52 games, Dunn was on pace to do very well this season but went down with a wrist injury earlier this year. He is another strong offensive-minded defenseman in the Blues system but would need to have a tremendous training camp to get a look at the NHL level.  

5. (6) Jordan Schmaltz, D, 7.5C
Drafted 1st round, 25th overall, 2012

After spending his time in the NCAA, Schmaltz has become a good offensive defenseman at the AHL level and has been a consistent asset for the Wolves. Scoring five goals with 27 assists, Schmaltz has been able to transition his playmaking skills to the next level and has been an impressive rookie this season. While his defensive game continues to need work, he has the makings of a top-end offensive talent for the Blues.

4. (9) Ville Husso, G, 7.5C
Drafted 4th round, 94th overall, 2014

One of the quickly rising names in the Blues prospect pool, Husso has been an impressive starting goaltender in Europe and has manned the crease for HIFK Helsinki for 3 seasons. He set career-highs in goals against average (1.91) and save percentage (0.927) while maintaining a record of 25-8-6. He has tightened up his game and has improved his overall poise and consistency. Playing for a very talented team, Husso will be the starting goaltender during the Liiga playoffs and looks poised for a promising career in North America.

3. (3) Jordan Binnington, G, 7.5C
Drafted 3rd round, 88th overall, 2011

Spending much of his pro career in the AHL, Binnington has been splitting starts with Copley and is in a tight race for the top goaltending spot in the Blues pipeline. He has a 2.90 goals against average with a 0.905 save percentage in the AHL but was much better last year. His overall abilities have kept him in the top three but there is certainly some competition in the system. With both Husso and Copley improving this season, it will be interesting to see how they perform during training camp and where they land in the next top 20 rankings this fall.  

2. (4) Ty Rattie, RW, 7.5C
Drafted 2nd, 32nd overall, 2011

For Rattie, his size and lack of top-end speed will always be an issue. He’s become a good offensive threat in the AHL and had a solid stint in the NHL as well. He always possessed good offensive instincts and can create good opportunities for his teammates. He is a great passer and always finds the right areas in the offensive zone. His shot is also a great asset with a quick release on the puck.

Rattie has 13 goals and 23 assists in 52 games in the AHL this season. He also managed four goals and two assists in 13 NHL games but never really had a chance to keep the roster spot. While his offensive game continues to be his strength, developing good defensive awareness will help him become a more complete player at the professional level.

1. (2) Ivan Barbashev, C, 7.5C
Drafted 2nd round, 33rd overall, 2014

As Fabbri and Parayko make their way to graduation, the spot for top Blues prospect is wide open. Ivan Barbashev can certainly make a case for the number one spot but his overall production needs to improve at the professional level. As a rookie, his offensive play has been solid but his defensive game needs to be better.

Known as a solid two-way player at the junior level, Barbashev has yet to find similar success in the pros. His 10 goals and 17 assists in 56 games are solid offensive numbers for a rookie but his  -11 rating suggests some unreliability in the defensive zone. He had similar issues early in his junior career but developed a good two-way game by his third season.  Given the stacked Blues roster, Barbashev will maintain a role at the AHL level and should start next season with the Wolves again.

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