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Future on display for Blues in Traverse City

by Mike G. Morreale
St. Louis Blues forwards Ty Rattie and Robby Fabbri are linemates in Traverse City. (Photo: Getty Images)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The immediate and not-so-distant future is on display for the St. Louis Blues at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament this week at Centre Ice Arena.

Forwards Ty Rattie (second round, No. 32, 2011), Robby Fabbri (first round, No. 21, 2014) and Ivan Barbashev (second round, No. 33, 2014), and defenseman Thomas Vannelli (second round, No. 47, 2013), head that impressive list.

Rattie, who scored 31 goals and 48 points as a rookie with the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League last season, would seem to have the best shot at earning an immediate roster spot out of training camp.

"You want to be on the team and want to be able to contribute every night and I thought I proved that last year [in the AHL]," Rattie said. "Wherever I end up this year I want to continue that, so the main goal is going to camp and pushing for a roster spot. I have confidence and hopefully I can make some noise."

There's no question Rattie, No. 38 on NHL.com's ranking of the Top 60 prospects in the League, made quite a racket in his first professional season despite scoring just once in the opening 16 games.

"The one thing about Rattie is that he's very coachable," Blues prospect coach and Chicago Wolves coach John Anderson said. "Everybody just thinks he scores but he blocks shots, is strong along the walls and is trying to become the complete player."

He's also working very well with Fabbri on the Blues' top line in Traverse City. Fabbri, who will attend training camp later this month, is just looking to make a lasting impression.

"I've enjoyed working with Ty because he won't yell if I make a mistake but tells me to correct it and get it next time," Fabbri said. "It's important to have an older guy like that on the bench with you because you put a lot of pressure on yourself when you're on a big stage like this. I think the way we are off the ice translates to the way we are on the ice."

Barbashev, who can play both center and left wing, has been skating on the left side with center Zach Pochiro (fourth round, No. 112, 2013) and right wing Jaedon Descheneau (fifth round, No. 124, 2014). Anderson feels Barbashev just needs to find a comfort level.

"I think he's a little nervous," Anderson said. "I see his skill in practice but he's not using it much in the game. I told him late in the game the other night that now was his time to shine because we needed a goal. He was a little better after that so I think I'll need to just give him a jump start every so often."

Vannelli, who has been paired with Petteri Lindbohm (sixth round, No. 176, 2012), shook off the butterflies in the opening game and appeared much more comfortable Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.

"He handles the puck well and makes great plays from the point," Anderson said. "He just needs to get thicker and heavier."

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