Photo: Jaden Schwartz, selected 14th overall in 2010, skated in 45 regular season and six playoff games for the St. Louis Blues in 2012-13 (courtesy of Keith Gillett/Icon SMI)
Prior to the trade deadline, the St. Louis Blues tried to acquire enough talent to make a push for the Stanley Cup. While the additions of Jay Bouwmeester and Jordan Leopold helped solidify the depth and experience of their blue line, they were unsuccessful in making a run for a championship and lost both young talent and draft picks in the process. In the Bouwmeester deal, the Blues gave up Mark Cundari, Reto Berra, and a conditional first round draft pick, which would be exercised if the Blues made the playoffs. The Blues did make the playoffs and were forced to give up their 2013 first round draft pick to the Calgary Flames.
Photo: Rookie winger Jaden Schwartz played a prominent role in Peoria during the NHL lockout, but since the start of the Blues season, he has skated in a bottom-six role in St. Louis (courtesy of Steven King/Icon SMI)
The St. Louis Blues have found a way to be successful at the NHL level and still maintain a very deep prospect pool. With draft selections primarily out of the top ten picks, the Blues have drafted extremely well to maintain a talented group of players at all positions.
Photo: New York Islanders prospect Ryan Strome was fantastic this season for the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL. In 53 games, Strome netted 34 goals and 60 assists (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
New York Islanders prospect Ryan Strome leads the 11-20 section of the Hockey's Future Spring ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects. Strome was one of the most productive players in the OHL this season, and was Mr. Everything for the Niagara IceDogs, figuring into over 40 percent of their total offense. He was not the only notable player to move up in the prospect rankings, however.
Photo: Defenseman Mark Cundari, signed as a free agent by the Blues in 2010, ranks fourth overall on the Peoria Rivermen with 20 points this season. (courtesy of Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
With immense depth at the NHL, junior and European levels of hockey, it should come as no surprise that the St. Louis Blues are lacking offensively-dominant players at the AHL and ECHL levels. Jaden Schwartz has been called-up to the big club, while Vladimir Tarasenko has finally come over from Europe. As more talented prospects make their way to the big club, the AHL affiliate Peoria Rivermen has started to struggle as a result.
Photo: The St. Louis Blues addressed the blue line with their first pick in 2012, drafting dynamic defenseman Jordan Schmaltz with the 25th overall pick. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The St. Louis Blues are one of few teams to have assets at every position. While the level of skill and potential role could be quite different between each player, the fact remains that the Blues have one of the best crop of players heading into the 48-game NHL season.