December 31-in-31: St.Louis Blues

Lou Farah

2020-12-25

The Blues had a successful regular season in 2019-2020, finishing first in the Western Conference with 94 points. Their post-season, however, didn’t go as well as they saw their playoff run end early by the Vancouver Canucks. With that behind them, the Blues had quite an eventful off-season, heading into the draft with seven picks and selecting three forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender. In addition, they made some key moves via free agency and trades that are guaranteed to shake up the Roster for the 2020-2021 season. Below is a breakdown of the Blues’ draft and off-season moves, along with an organizational depth chart and fantasy rankings. 

2020 Draft Recap

Round 1 – Pick #26: Jake Neighbours

Position: LW 

Drafted from: Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

There are many reasons to like this pick for the St. Louis Blues. Neighbours is a tremendous skater with impressive acceleration and edgework. He utilizes his skating in all three zones, making him an effective 200-foot player who is very responsible defensively. In addition, his quick stick and ability to read the play pose serious problems for the opposition when he is on the forecheck. 

Offensively, Neighbours’ game has come a long way over the past year. He finished his rookie season in 2017-2018 with four points in 11 games, and his sophomore season in 2018-2019 with 24 points in 47 games. Last year, however, he managed to tally 70 points (23G, 47A) in 64 games. This production has not only come from his impressive release, but also from his willingness to battle in front of the net and get some “ugly” goals. 

We will likely not be seeing Neighbours at the NHL level for another year or two at a minimum. In the meantime, he will look to continue developing in the WHL as his potential is promising. 

Round 3 – Pick #86: Dylan Peterson

Position: C 

Drafted from: US. National Under-18 Team (USDP)

Standing at 6-4, 192 lbs, Peterson brings an impressive physical presence on the ice and the potential to be a power forward at the next level. He has great playmaking skills, allowing him to find teammates in tight spaces and set them up for high danger chances. Some argue, though, that he relies on his playmaking skillset too much, as his natural instincts often lead him to pass instead of shoot, when he shouldn’t. This, in combination with his questionable deployment by the coaches, has caused his offensive production to take a hit, as he finished the USDP season averaging 0.55 points per game.