HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- They've known one another for roughly two years, but for St. Louis Blues prospects Dmitrij Jaskin and Ivan Barbashev, the bond has made it feel like a lifetime.
Both are natives of Russia: Jaskin a Czech raised in Omsk; Barbashev born and raised in Moscow. At a young age and about to embark on new lives in North America, they relied on one another to get by in a different culture. It set the wheels in motion on a friendship that continues to grow in strength.
They were drafted together by the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League at the 2012 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, and now Jaskin and Barbashev are together again as draft picks of the St. Louis Blues.
Jaskin, 21, and Barbashev, 18, were second-round picks in the NHL draft. Jaskin was the 41st pick in 2011 while Barbashev, who was projected as a mid-first round selection, was the 33rd pick of the 2014 draft.
They arrived in Moncton without much knowledge of the North American culture. But the common denominator was Jaskin and Barbashev had each other, and a friendship rapidly ensued.