Blues 2008-09 NCAA prospects update

By Craig Andrews

Nine of St. Louis’ prospects are currently playing NCAA hockey. They began the season with 10, but Ryan Turek turned pro mid-year.

Jay Barriball, C
Drafted 2006, 7th round (203rd overall)

Barriball was selected in the seventh round of the 2006 draft by the San Jose Sharks.  The following year, Barriball became a member of the Blues organization after being involved in a trade for veteran Bill Guerin. 

Barriball started his collegiate career in a strong way, putting up 43 points as a freshman for the Golden Gophers.  His sophomore year was somewhat of a disappointment.  After a slow start, Barriball finished the year with only 21 points in a full season. This year however, Barriball has once again found his scoring touch netting seven goals and 16 assists in 23 games.  Barriball has excellent speed to go along with his skill, but at 5’8, 170 pounds, his size is the biggest question mark.

Ian Cole, D
Notre Dame
Drafted 2007, 1st round (18th overall)

Cole was one of three first-round picks in 2007 for the Blues.  He is a strong and physical defenseman, and uses his size to his advantage.  Standing 6’1 and 215 pounds, Cole is strong along the boards and has good positioning.  Many believe Cole will be one of the pieces to a strong future defensive corps for St. Louis along with Alex Pietrangelo and Jonas Junland.

As a freshman last year, Cole helped the Fighting Irish reach the finals of the Frozen Four with a strong season, netting eight goals and 12 assists in 43 games.  So far, Cole has showed no signs of falling into a sophomore slump, with four goals and 16 assists and a plus-13 in 27 games.

Cade Fairchild, D
Drafted 2007, 4th round (96th overall)

Fairchild has a lot of offensive upside for a defenseman.  Fairly small for a blue liner at 5’10 185 pounds, Fairchild must improve on his defensive game to become an elite prospect.  Fairchild has already recovered from a shoulder surgery in his career, and has rebounded to play very well this season. 

Fairchild has five goals and 21 points in 22 games this year with a minus-1 mark.  Fairchild had two goals and 15 total points as a freshman at Minnesota last year.

Paul Karpowich, G

Drafted 2008, 7th round (185th overall)

Karpowich earned the No. 1 goaltending job at Clarkson University as a freshman this year.  He has appeared in 22 games, posting a record of 6-11-4.  More impressive are his 2.75 GAA and a .910 save percentage, with one shutout on the year. 

Karpowich has a lot of potential and has all of the raw ability that scouts look for in a goaltending prospect.  He is currently 6’0 and 160 pounds.  

Matthew McCollem, LW
Drafted 2006, 6th round (154th overall)

McCollem is a solid defensive forward with tremendous skating ability.  At every level, his coaches have praised his work ethic and his attitude toward the game and his teammates.  The 20-year-old is 6’0 190 pounds. 

As a freshman, McCollem earned a share of the Percy award as Harvard’s top rookie with 14 points in 31 games.  This year, McCollem has matched his play from last year, netting four goals and five assists in 21 games as a sophomore.  McCollem has been effective on the power play as three of his four goals this year have come with the man advantage.

Trevor Nill, C

Michigan State
Drafted 2007, 7th round, (190th overall)

Nill’s biggest asset is his size.  He is 6’2 190 and continues to work on his strength, driving the net and creating offense directly in front of the crease. 

As a freshman this year, Nill has just two points in 26 games for the Spartans. He is currently a minus-4 with four penalty minutes and 37 shots on goal.

Aaron Palushaj, RW

Drafted 2007, 2nd round (44th overall)

Many consider Palushaj to be St. Louis’ most NHL-ready prospect at the NCAA level.  Palushaj’s offensive upside is exceptional.  He is a strong skater and plays a good all-around game.  The 19-year-old is 6’0 185 pounds and has tremendous skills in the offensive zone.  His combination of soft hands and quickness give him great playmaking ability.

Palushaj is following up his incredible freshman year with a sophomore campaign that is just as impressive.  He has 9 goals and 26 assists in 28 games in his sophomore season. His 35 points lead the Wolverines.  As a freshman, Palushaj netted 10 goals and 34 assists in 43 games.

Andy Sackrison, C/LW
Minnesota State Mankato
Drafted 2006, 5th round, (124th overall)

A very impressive freshman year turned many heads, but Sackrison’s scoring has dropped way off.  In the 2007-08 season he had six goals and 14 assists in 36 games. So far in his sophomore year, he has a goal and five assists in 22 games.  Sackrison has a tremendous scoring touch, but is not showing it.  He missed some time with an upper-body injury in November, and has even been a healthy scratch this year.

Sackrison has always had the natural ability to put the puck in the back of the net. With his size, 6’1 200, Sackrison can be a dangerous player if he improves his all-around game.  He is a solid skater for his size.

David Warsofsky, D

Boston University
Drafted 2008, 4th round (95th overall)

What Warsofsky lacks in size, 5’9 160, he makes up for it with the ability to see the ice very well.  A solid skater, Warsofsky captained the 2007-08 USA Under-18 team.  Coaches praise his vision, leadership, and attitude towards the game.

Warsofsky has been impressive in his first year at Boston University as a true freshman, with two goals and 14 assists in 28 games for the Terriers, along with his plus-16 mark.