Talking Blues Prospects With Chicago Wolves Writer, Paul LaTour
The St. Louis Blues have a handful of high end prospects currently playing in the American Hockey League, including forwards Dmitrij Jaskin, Ty Rattie, and goaltender, Jake Allen. They also boast a handful of up and coming defensive prospects including Joel Edmundson, David Shields, and Jani Hakanpaa. Lets not forget a slew of bottom six forwards including Sergey Andronov, Cody Beach, and Sebastian Wannstrom.
Living in St. Louis, there's not a lot of time to watch the Wolves play so twitter is a primary source for keeping up with the Wolves players. So why not go to the guy who gets to watch the Wolves on a nightly basis? So I chatted with Paul LaTour, and he gave a pretty good breakdown of the prospects playing in the AHL.
Randall Ritchey : Many are wondering about the development of the defensive prospects the Blues have playing with the Wolves this season. How has the development of Jani Hakanpaa, David Shields, and Joel Edmundson?
Paul LaTour : All three of the Wolves young defensemen seem to be at different stages of development, and none are NHL-ready yet. Shields appears to have made the biggest strides, partly due to being partnered with captain Taylor Chorney for most of the season. Edmundson has shown improvement as the season has progressed, providing the Wolves with a more physical presence in front of the net as he's gotten more comfortable. Hakanpaa is among the team's leaders with a plus-16 rating, but has been a healthy scratch far more frequently than the other two youngsters. He possesses a massively strong shot, but often misses the target.
Randall Ritchey : Cade Fairchild was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes for Future Considerations. How has he progressed this season?
Paul LaTour : Fairchild was one of my personal favorites by virtue of our shared hometown, so I was disappointed to see him traded earlier this week. That said, he doesn't seem to have reached the potential many scouts projected for him. The knee injury he suffered at the end of last season and sidelined him until early November certainly set him back.
Randall Ritchey : There are a few lesser known prospects who have bottom six potential in the NHL, like Sergey Andronov, Cody Beach, and Sebastian Wannstrom. How have they progressed with the Wolves this season?
Paul LaTour : It's difficult to gauge Andronov because he's been derailed by injuries. He showed some scoring flashes as the season went on, then suffered an upper-body injury that has kept him out of the lineup since Feb. 7, and has played only one game since Jan. 26. Wannstrom spent most of the early season as a healthy scratch but once he got into the lineup he's been a steady presence on the third and fourth lines. Beach has also been in and out of the lineup due to a combination of injuries, illness, healthy scratches and a personal matter that took him away from the team for about a week. I wouldn't expect to see any of them in the NHL anytime soon, if ever.
Randall Ritchey : Ty Rattie and Dmitrij Jaškin have been major bright spots this season for those who watch the Wolves and both have the best chance at becoming top six forwards in the NHL. What can you tell me of their game and their potential?
Paul LaTour : I don't expect to see either Jaskin or Rattie on the Wolves for very long. Although Porter is the current forward call-up, Jaskin has been a popular recall for the Blues. He possesses everything to make him a top-six forward for years to come, and is probably closer to being NHL-ready than Rattie. The flashier of the two, Rattie has that goal-scorer's knack for the net. His baseball-bat swing for a goal last month was something to behold. Few players have the hand-eye coordination and mental awareness to even attempt it, let alone be successful with it. He's talked all season about his growing confidence, which is evident every time he steps on the ice now.
Randall Ritchey : Jake Allen has been marked as the goalie of the future in the Blues organization. How has his season gone and how much has his game developed this year?
Paul LaTour : Allen is another guy who won't be wearing a Wolves sweater for long. By all rights, he deserves to be in the NHL already. Under a huge workload with the Wolves, he's shining. Among the AHL leaders in victories, GAA and saves percentage, he appears to be at the top of his game. Goalies often don't reach their full potential until their mid-20s, so it will be interesting to see how much better the 23-year-old Allen can get.
I'd like to thank Paul for taking the time out of his busy schedule to help give us a closer look at some of the Blues prospects playing in the AHL. I hope you all enjoyed this, and if you did, be sure to follow myself (@Blues_Buzz
) and be sure to give Paul a follow as well, @PLaTour68