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Tarasenko Tops Blues' Batch of Prospects

Monday, 01.14.2013 / 6:00 PM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Dave Lozo  -
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Tarasenko Tops Blues\' Batch of Prospects
The St. Louis Blues have built one of the top young rosters in the League, and now will be adding one of the top prospects in the sport in Vladimir Tarasenko this coming season.

The St. Louis Blues had their fair share of struggles from 2005 to 2011, missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs in five of six seasons. But with those setbacks come high draft picks, which the Blues used to transform themselves into an elite team in the Western Conference last season.

There's still plenty of talent in the system, so much so the Blues dealt goaltender Ben Bishop to the Ottawa Senators last year because of a logjam at the position.

The next prospect to get a chance is a talented Russian, but who else do the Blues have that will make an impact down the road? Here are 10 talented players in the system who have yet to play 20 NHL games.

1. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW: He has yet to play a game in the NHL, yet on the Blues' website, he's listed on their main roster and not the prospects list. It's a sure sign the 6-foot, 200-pounder will be a member of the big club when camp breaks.

Tarasenko played his first Kontinental Hockey League game as a 16-year-old and has grown into one of the top prospects in all of hockey. He was a force on Russia's gold-medal team at the 2011 World Junior Championships with four goals and seven assists in seven games, tied for second at the tournament with countryman and Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov.

2. Jaden Schwartz, LW: The 20-year-old made had a seven-game stint with the Blues toward the end of last season. In two years with Colorado College, Schwartz had 32 goals and 56 assists in 80 games.

There may not be room for the 5-9, 179-pound native of Melfort, Sask., when the season begins, but it shouldn't be long before he reaches the NHL after some time with the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League.

3. Ty Rattie, RW: The 32nd pick of the 2011 draft had a dominating season with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League last season. In 69 games, the 5-11, 170-pound Rattie had 57 goals and 64 assists to finish third in the league in scoring. In 21 postseason games, he had a league-best 19 goals and his 33 points were second behind Portland teammate Sven Bartschi, the top prospect of the Calgary Flames.

Still only 19, the undersized Rattie has some growing to do. The Blues could give him one more season at the junior level or let him get a taste of the professional life in the AHL. He probably won't see the NHL this year.

4. Philip McRae, C: The 22-year-old from Apple Valley, Minn., has cut down on the penalty minutes and shown he can score at the AHL level. The son of former NHL player Basil McRae had 23 goals and just 26 PIMs in 71 games for the Rivermen last season.

That's a change from the 6-2, 200-pounder's game in recent years. He averaged about a penalty minute per game at the junior level, but perhaps McRae is learning he's more effective on the ice and hurting his team by spending so much time in the penalty box.

5. Jake Allen, G: The Blues' organization is probably one of the last a young goaltender wants to find himself with Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott on the big club, but Allen is doing everything he can at the AHL level to show he belongs in the NHL.

The 22-year-old split time the past two years with Ben Bishop, who was traded to the Ottawa Senators last season. Allen's 2.93 goals-against average and .915 save percentage weren't great last season, but he was ranked in the top-20 in those categories in 2010-11. Now that Bishop is gone, Allen will have a chance to prove he can handle the workload on his own.

6. Jordan Schmaltz, D: The Blues' first-round pick in 2012 has size (6-2, 180) and offensive talent on the blue line with 10 goals and 41 points in 55 games split between Sioux City and Green Bay of the USHL last season.

7. Joel Edmundson, D: At 6-4 and 200 pounds, the 19-year-old is not just a physical force -- he can be a playmaker, too. He had four goals and 19 assists in 56 games for Moose Jaw of the WHL last season. Edmundson missed time at the start of last season with a high ankle sprain.

8. Dmitrij Jaskin, RW: The 19-year-old was the 41st pick in the 2011 Draft, but his numbers weren't great last year for Slavia Praha of the KHL. In 30 games, he had just one goal and one assist, but he has the goal-scoring talent that shouldn't stay hidden this year.

9. Brett Ponich, D: The 21-year-old was steady in his first season at the AHL level. He'll never be mistaken for Paul Coffey with only five assists in 61 games for Peoria, but he was an even player in terms of plus/minus.




1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46


V. Tarasenko 61 31 29 27 60
A. Steen 59 19 32 4 51
J. Schwartz 54 20 26 16 46
D. Backes 60 20 21 3 41
T. Oshie 53 17 24 12 41
K. Shattenkirk 49 8 32 18 40
P. Stastny 53 11 23 10 34
J. Lehtera 54 9 24 16 33
A. Pietrangelo 61 5 27 -3 32
P. Berglund 57 8 11 -2 19
B. Elliott 19 9 2 .921 2.21
J. Allen 17 6 2 .905 2.50

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