Rampage Roster Projection

BluesProspects

Photo courtesy NHL.com

With both the NHL and AHL seasons coming down to their respective championship finals, it’s time for us in San Antonio to do what we always do this time of the year–other than cheer against the Stars. Recognizing that draft day and free agency are still weeks away, here is your way-too-early look at a possible San Antonio Rampage roster for the 2018-19 season under the leadership of our NHL affiliate St. Louis Blues.

For this exercise, I am focusing solely on those players on an Entry Level Contract (ELC), those that are Restricted Free Agents (RFA), and those with a known two-way (NHL) contract. St. Louis is looking into adding a top 6 player this summer and one or more of these players listed could be used to acquire such a piece. Until that happens, lets speculate away.

∨ = Waiver Exempt
* = Arbitration Eligible

Forwards

Ivan Barbashev (C)
ELC

St. Louis: 49GP 7g-6a-13pts
Chicago (AHL): 20Gp 5g-5a-10pts

Prediction: St. Louis
Barbashev appeared to turn the corner last season and should be a regular for the Blues next season

Beau Bennett (RW,LW)
RFA*

St. Louis: 6GP 0g-0a-0pts
Chicago (AHL): 60Gp 12g-45a-57pts

Prediction: San Antonio
This could be wishful thinking, but the Rampage are in need of a veteran playmaker and Bennett fits the bill perfectly and the Blues don’t need to go outside the organization to get him.

Samuel Blais (LW)
ELC∨

San Antonio: 42GP 17g-23a-40pts
St. Louis: 11Gp 1g-2a-3pts

Prediction: San Antonio
Blais, when not battling injuries or called up to the NHL, was the best player on the Rampage and, at times, was dominant. I don’t know if he has a place with the Blues. He could be a trade piece for top 6 help. If not, he will be a mainstay on the Rampage top line.

Connor Bleackley (C)
ELC∨

San Antonio: 13GP 1g-0a-1pt
Chicago (AHL): 7Gp 0g-1a-1pt

Prediction: San Antonio
Bleackley impressed as a bottom 6 center in his end-of-season audition with San Antonio. He plays a heavy game and played hard. Depending on free agency additions, Bleackley could be a 4C in San Antonio or start in Tulsa and serve as depth.

Erik Foley (LW)
ELC∨

Providence College: 38GP 16g-19a-35pts
Prediction: San Antonio
Good combination of scoring and grit. Had a solid college career and should be a quality addition to the Rampage.

Tanner Kaspick (C)
ELC∨

Brandon (WHL): 35GP 12g-25a-37pts
Victoria (WHL): 25Gp 13g-14a-27pts

Prediction: San Antonio
Like Bleackley, where he starts the year has a lot to do with July 1. He projects as a bottom 6 forward/PK, so he could stick in San Antonio.

Klim Kostin (RW)
ELC∨

San Antonio: 67GP 6g-22a-28pts
Prediction: San Antonio
Despite his numbers, Kostin got better as the season progressed and with a full complement of Blues coaches, I expect a big sophomore season (50-60 points) from the 2017 first rounder.

Jordan Kyrou (C,RW)
ELC∨

Sarnia (OHL): 56GP 39g-70a-109pts
Prediction: San Antonio
Highly skilled player who dominated in his 19 year old season in juniors. Outside shot he could make the Blues, but I think they show patience and let him develop for a season in San Antonio.

Mackenzie MacEachern (LW)
RFA*

Chicago (AHL): 46GP 6g-4a-10pts
Prediction: Not Qualified MacEachern is already 24 and has been an ok player at the AHL level for St Louis. I could see them moving on to make room for their new wave of prospects.

Adam Musil (C)
ELC∨

San Antonio: 54GP 3g-8a-11pts
Prediction: San Antonio
Played his role well until later in the season for the Rampage. Musil got into Veilleux’s doghouse (rightfully so) and was eventually loaned to the Czech National Team to finish out the year. I think he’ll bounce back for a decent bottom 6 type season in SA.

Austin Poganski (RW)
ELC∨

North Dakota (NCAA): 40GP 11g-9a-20pts
San Antonio: 4GP 1g-1a-2pts

Prediction: Tulsa
Another power forward prospect for the Blues. He should be brought along slowly and allowed to grow into his pro game.

Zach Sanford (C,LW)
ELC∨

San Antonio: 20GP 4g-3a-7pts
Prediction: San Antonio
Sanford is a quality AHL player who struggled to come back from major shoulder surgery. A healthy Sanford could push for an NHL roster spot, but if not, he could be a major contributor to the Rampage and serve as one of the first callups.

Justin Selman (C)
RFA*

Tulsa: 26GP 3g-7a-10pts
Prediction: Not qualified
Selman is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. With only 24 AHL games under his belt and coming off an injury season, I don’t see him receiving an offer from the Blues.

Nolan Stevens (C)
ELC∨

Northeastern (NCAA): 38GP 24g-18a-42pts
Prediction: San Antonio
Another candidate to have an impact in San Antonio. Stevens was the Huskies captain and had a terrific senior season. Could be another player to watch in Blues camp this fall.

Tage Thompson (C,RW)
ELC∨

San Antonio: 30GP 8g-10a-18pts
St Louis: 41GP 3g-6a-9pts

Prediction: St Louis
Thompson struggled at times in St Louis and was very good in his time with the Rampage. This will be the most interesting player to watch for me this fall. A lot will depend on the Blues offseason moves. For me, he is a coin flip as to where he starts the season. If it’s in San Antonio, watch out for some offensive fireworks.

Defensemen

Chris Butler (LD)
Two-Way

San Antonio: 61GP 8g-21a-29pts
St Louis: 6GP 0g-0a-0pts

Prediction: San Antonio
Butler was named team captain of a team made up primarily of Avalanche prospects. He will return and he will wear the C again.

Petteri Lindbohm (LD)
RFA*

Chicago (AHL): 23GP 1g-2a-3pts
Prediction: San Antonio
Lindbohm had his season cut short due to a shoulder injury that required season ending surgery. He is arbitration eligible and is a big player that plays a solid defense-first game. With the relative lack of depth on the blue line, I’ll say he gets qualified and plays in San Antonio.

Niko Mikkola (LD)
ELC∨

Tappara (Liiga): 50GP 2g-9a-11pts
Prediction: San Antonio
The 6’4″ Finnish 5th round draft pick (2015) will likely use a full season in San Antonio to learn the North American game and get comfortable. Mikkola is a big bodied defensive specialist with very good skating ability for his size. If he adjusts quickly, this could be a huge signing for the Rampage.

Mitch Reinke (RD)
ELC∨

Michigan Tech: 35GP 3g-21a-24pts
St Louis: 1GP 0g-0a-0pts

Prediction: San Antonio
Two-way defenseman that isn’t flashy, but plays a solid game. He is a perfect candidate to play a season plus in the AHL to learn the pro game before making the jump.

Jordan Schmaltz (RD)
RFA*

San Antonio: 31GP 5g-18a-23pts
St. Louis: 13GP 0g-1a-1pt

Prediction: St. Louis
Schmaltz was arguably the best defenseman in San Antonio last season before his callup. Considering he requires waivers to be sent to the AHL, and I don’t think he would make it through, he is a pretty good bet to be the 6th/7th D in St Louis this season.

Dmitri Sergeev (LD)
ELC∨

San Antonio: 2GP 0g-0a-0pts
Tulsa: 56GP 3g-19a-22pts

Prediction: San Antonio
Sergeev’s status will again depend on how active the Blues are in free agency. There isn’t a ton of defensive prospect depth, so without a lot of moves, he could find himself on the Rampage’s bottom pair.

Tommy Vannelli (RD)
RFA

San Antonio: 12GP 1g-2a-3pts
Tulsa: 51GP 4g-18a-22pts

Prediction: San Antonio
The former 2nd rounder (2013) finished the season in San Antonio. He did struggle a bit defensively but showed some signs of being able to be a bottom pairing/extra D in the AHL.

Jake Walman (LD)
ELC∨

Chicago/Binghamton(AHL): 59GP 4g-16a-20pts
Prediction: San Antonio
Some consider Walman the Blues’ top defensive prospect not in the NHL. His situation last season didn’t really help out his production. Being in San Antonio full time with a solid footing should bring out his best. I expect him to be paired with Butler to start.

Goalies


Jordan Binnington
RFA*

Providence(AHL): 17-9-1 2.04 0.926%
Prediction: St. Louis
I reserve the right to change this at any time. Possibly the biggest question mark going into the summer for the Blues is in goal. Can they move Jake Allen. Do they even want to? Did Carter Hutton earn himself a big contract? In my opinion, the Blues would be wise to sign Binnington to his offer and have him backup Allen in St Louis. This gives Husso one more year to develop, and play 50+ games for the first time in his career, in the AHL.

Evan Fitzpatrick
ELC∨

Sherbrooke (QMJHL): 9-9-1 3.48 0.874%
Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL): 17-3-0 2.24 0.915

Prediction: San Antonio
Fitzpatrick’s spot will all be determined by what happens up top. If my Binnington prediction holds, he should be slotted in to back up Husso in San Antonio. Once he moved to a better team mid-season, he really took off and his very good play continued deep into the playoffs.

Ville Husso
ELC∨

San Antonio: 15-14-5 2.42 0.922%
Prediction: San Antonio
Husso was named to the AHL All-rookie team and was night in/night out the best player for the Rampage. I see him getting this next full season as the undisputed starter from day one before taking the reigns in St Louis next season.

Luke Opilka
ELC∨

No stats
Prediction: Tulsa (if healthy)
Opilka is coming off three hip surgeries–two on his right, one on the left– and his career could be in doubt. If healthy, he’s got a long road ahead of him and would likely start that journey in Tulsa.

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