Centers Johnny Pohl and Jay McClement along with defenseman Christian Backman top the roster of future Blues and tryouts that look to continue the Blues’ dominance of the Traverse City prospect tournament on Friday. The Blues’ prospect team has won the tournament each time since its inception in 1999.
Of the 24 of the players on the roster, only 9 are currently on the reserve list meaning that the other 15 players are playing for a chance with a future with the St. Louis Blues. The most prominent names on the tryout list are Patrick Thoresen, Tyler Beechey, and Marc-Andre LeClerc.
Thoresen, a Norwegian center, hoped to get drafted in the early to middle rounds of the 2002 NHL Draft but eventually went undrafted gaining free agent status. However, he would have to sign with a team before the end of training camp or he would have to re-enter the NHL draft next June. In his first season with Moncton of the QMJHL, Thoresen posted an impressive 30 goals and 43 assists in 60 games.
Beechey, who spend last year wit the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL, posted even more impressive numbers than Thoresen last season, racking up a team leading 99 points in 70 games. That total was good enough for 4th in the WHL. Beechey also went undrafted, but because of his age would not have to re-enter the draft next June if he remains unsigned following training camp.
While his accomplishments were in a lower level junior league, LeClerc has by far the most impressive resume of all the tryouts. Last year with the OCN Blizzard of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, LeClerc posted a 31-6-0 record along with a .930 save percentage and a GAA of 2.13. He also won the top goaltender award for both the regular season and the playoffs, was named a 1st team All-Star, and was named the playoff MVP en route to an Anavet Cup championship.
Update: In an article that was eventually removed, it was incorrectly reported that Brett Lutes was unsigned by the Blues prior to the June deadline. Lutes was released by the Blues prior to the 2001 draft. The article also failed to mention that Craig Weller refused to sign with the Blues because he wanted to gain free agent status where he could re-join his junior coach within the Rangers organization.
Blues’ Tournament Schedule
Friday 9/6 vs. Minnesota at 6:00 PM
Sunday 9/8 vs. Detroit at 5:00 PM
Monday 9/9 vs. Atlanta at 5:30 PM
Tuesday 9/10 vs. Washington at 6:00 PM
The full tournament roster can be found at the Stlblues.com.