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31 in 31

Top prospects for St. Louis Blues

Thomas expected to challenge for forward spot; Schmaltz ready to help at defenseman

by Brett Amadon / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com is providing an in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the St. Louis Blues, according to NHL.com.

 

[Blues 31 IN 31: Season preview3 QuestionsFantasy breakdownBehind the Numbers]

 

1. Robert Thomas, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 20 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: London (OHL): 27 GP, 20-26-46; Hamilton (OHL): 22 GP, 4-25-29

Thomas was acquired by Hamilton in a trade with London on Jan. 8 and helped it win the Ontario Hockey League championship with 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in 21 games and was the recipient of the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as playoff most valuable player. The 19-year-old had six points (one goal, five assists) in seven games to help Canada win the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Compared to Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron, Thomas (6-foot, 188 pounds) missed development camp with an ankle injury he sustained against Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL championship but is expected to compete for a spot in September.

"I'm excited about Robert. What I like, what coaches like, is he's got a well-rounded game," coach Mike Yeo said. "Robert's a guy who's going to learn quickly. He's a very coachable kid, he's a smart player, plays well on both ends of the ice. Another right shot, but a guy that's got a lot of elements, a lot of high hockey intelligence to his game that could really give him a chance to come in and make our team."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: 31 in 31: St. Louis Blues 2018-19 season preview

 

2. Jordan Kyrou, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 35 pick in 2016 NHL Draft

Last season: Sarnia (OHL): 56 GP, 39-70-109

Kyrou has shown he can be a playmaker at the OHL level. He won the Red Tillson Trophy as league MVP last season after he had 109 points (39 goals, 70 assists). The 20-year-old led Canada with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in seven games to help it win the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Kyrou (6-foot, 175) was close to making the Blues' opening-night roster last season and has the speed and offensive skill to play in the NHL. However, with the Blues crowded at forward, he probably will spend some time with San Antonio in the American Hockey League but could get a look at some point during the season.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

 

3. Jordan Schmaltz, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 25 pick in 2012 NHL Draft

Last season: St. Louis (NHL): 13 GP, 0-1-1; San Antonio (AHL): 31 GP, 5-18-23

Schmaltz (6-2, 190) was the only Blues prospect named to the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic last season. The 24-year-old has played for the Blues in each of the past two seasons (22 games; 13 last season), but has been unable to find a consistent spot. With defensemen Jay Bouwmeester coming back from a hip injury and Carl Gunnarsson to miss time after tearing his ACL in April, Schmaltz should return to the NHL lineup at some point this season.

"You look at what the NHL game is today and, on the back end, you're talking about guys who can skate, guys with good feet, guys who can distribute the puck and move the puck and see the ice. And [Schmaltz] has all those elements," Yeo said.

"You know, it's been a little bit of a long, slow ride as far as him making this step, but there's going to be an opportunity for him this year."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

 

4. Klim Kostin, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 31 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: San Antonio (AHL): 67 GP, 6-22-28

After being limited to eight games with Dynamo Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2016-17 because of season-ending shoulder surgery, Kostin didn't take long to adjust to the North American game. The 19-year-old had 28 points (six goals, 22 assists) for San Antonio in the AHL and led Russia with eight points (five goals, three assists) in five games at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. Kostin (6-3, 212) has the size and shot, and has shown strong skating ability.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: STL@WSH: Kostin buries a top-shelf beauty in the 3rd

 

5. Dominik Bokk, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 25 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: Vaxjo (SHL): 15 GP, 1-1-2; Vaxjo Jr. (SWE Jr.): 35 GP, 14-27-41

The Blues traded up to select Bokk, an 18-year-old with a mix of offensive skill and speed who got the opportunity to play 15 games with Vaxjo in the Swedish Hockey League because of injuries. Bokk (6-1, 180) remains under contract with Vaxjo through next season and is a couple of years away from the NHL as he gets stronger and continues to develop.

Projected NHL arrival: 2020-21

Video: Blues draft Dominik Bokk No. 25

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