Blues prospects finishing out strong seasons
Bolduc, Buchinger, Dean, Peterson and Snuggerud all competing for championshipsby Andrew Pek / St. Louis Blues
As the St. Louis Blues reach the final stages of the NHL regular season, as have their prospects across their amateur and junior leagues.
Zachary Bolduc, Michael Buchinger, Zach Dean, Dylan Peterson and Jimmy Snuggerud have all put up strong performances this season and are all in pursuit of their respective league championships in the coming weeks.
Bolduc, a 20-year-old forward selected No. 17 overall in the 2021 NHL Draft, has led his Quebec Remparts to the top spot in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League regular-season standings, setting up a strong run for the league's title belt. His 50 goals and 110 points share No. 4 in the league this season, also increasing his assist total by 16 over last year. The Remparts open their postseason against the Charlottetown Islanders, with all QMJHL first-round matchups starting on March 31.
Dean was acquired from Vegas earlier this season in the Ivan Barbashev trade and is also preparing for a run in the QMJHL playoffs. The 20-year-old forward was drafted by Vegas with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and finished the regular season with 33 goals and 37 assists for 70 total points. In 50 games played, Dean shared second in goals and ranked third in points on the Gatineau Olympiques.
With Dean's Olympiques the No. 2 seed in the opposite conference as Bolduc's Remparts, the two Blues prospects could face off for the QMJHL's Gilles-Courteau Trophy and a spot in the 2023 Memorial Cup.
Buchinger, selected by the Blues in the third round of the 2022 NHL Draft and recently signed to a three-year entry-level deal, has finished up a strong regular season for the Guelph Storm in the Ontario Hockey League. His 67 points in 61 games ranked No. 4 among all OHL defensemen this season, leading his club's blue liners by a substantial margin. Guelph also opens their postseason run on March 31, facing off against the Sarnia Sting as the No. 6 seed in the OHL's Western Conference.
South of the U.S./Canada border, Snuggerud and Peterson are both still in the hunt for an NCAA championship - set to face one another in the Frozen Four next week.
Snuggerud's Minnesota cruised to a 9-2 win over Canisius in the first round, followed by a 4-1 win over St. Cloud State to punch their ticket to Tampa. The 2022 first-round pick scored a goal in the first round win, adding to his impressive total this season. Minnesota is set to face Peterson's Boston University - after wins over Western Michigan and Cornell - on April 6 at 4 p.m. (ESPN2) for a spot in the National Championship game.
Be sure to follow the Blues on social media for updates on these young players looking to make their mark and showcase their NHL potential. More information on Blues prospects can be found by clicking here.
Bolduc photo credit: Jonathan Roy