ST. LOUIS — An NHL training camp is full of promise.
Practices and preseason games offer a chance to look ahead, an opportunity to see prospects on the ice with the players they will one day join — or replace.
Naturally, some hopefuls deserve more attention than others. So, to make things easy, here are five Blues prospects worth keeping a a close eye on as the team prepares for a new year.
1) Dmitrij Jaskin, RW, Shoots: L, Drafted: 41st in 2011
Jaskin, 20, has been the talk of training camp so far. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound wing joined the Blues late last season, and has skated with Derek Roy and Chris Stewart in practice. Out of the five mentioned here, he likely has the highest chance of being a Blue instead of a Chicago Wolf, the Blues’ minor league affiliate, starting this season.
2) Ty Rattie, RW, Shoots: R, Drafted: 32nd in 2011
Anticipation surrounding Rattie, 20, has neared the level of hype Jaskin has created. The 6-foot, 178-pound wing has flashed his quick release while teamed with Blues captain David Backes and Alex Steen during practices. Both Jaskin and Rattie are in the expected lineup for the Blues’ preseason game against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
3) Jani Hakanpaa, D, Shoots: R, Drafted: 104th in 2010
Hakanpaa, 21, has the kind of size that makes a coach drool: 6-5, 218 pounds. He will get time in the AHL to smooth out rough edges but is a name to remember when call-ups are needed during the season. He will get some action against Tampa Bay on Wednesday; he’s listed in the expected lineup.
4) Joel Edmundson, D, Shoots: R, Drafted: 46th in 2011
Edmundson, 20, logged 20-plus minutes of ice time in the Blues’ first preseason game, a 6-5 shootout win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Previously, the 6-4, 207-pounder had three assists and finished plus-4 in four games with the Blues at the NHL Prospects tournament in Michigan a week ago.
5) Cade Fairchild, D, Shoots: L, Drafted: 96th in 2007
Fairchild, 24, made his debut with the Blues in the 2011-12 season, and played five games. He hasn’t been back since. The 5-11, 190-pounder will likely need a Blues player to go down with an injury if he is to be a factor this season.
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