This weekend, the NHL held its annual amateur draft. The St. Louis Blues, the Rampage’s new NHL affiliate had six choices and added a little bit of everything to the mix. The next question fans of AHL teams who follow the draft is simple; How will this affect the Rampage?
I am no prospects expert in the slightest, but I will do my best by perusing the available reports on each player. I will add in my opinion on if/when we can expect these guys to don the beloved bull.
February 3rd, 2000 (18)
Height 6’1″ — Weight 180 lbs
Very good skater and exceptional stickhandler. Pure playmaker with a very good arsenal of shots. Struggles defensively, which is not all that uncommon for younger, offensively gifted players. Played in just 15 games above Euro Juniors and, at barely 18 years old, has plenty of time to develop his all around game.
Forecast – I’d expect one more full season in the SHL playing against top competition before the Blues bring him to North America in 2019, likely for at least one season with the Rampage. Likelihood – 9/10
August 18th, 1998 (19)
Height 5’9″ — Weight 164 lbs
Undersized defenseman with outstanding agility and skating ability. High IQ and great passer. Puck moving defenseman who can get the puck to his forwards. His skating ability allows him to pinch and keep the puck in the offensive zone and still pivot to backcheck. His size compromises his defensive ability against larger forwards and could be an issue going forward. Had a productive Freshman campaign at Minnesota-Duluth.
Forecast – Perunovich is an older player and will turn 20 before this season. I’d expect one more season at UMD before turning pro next year and playing in San Antonio in 2019. Likelihood – 9/10
July 30th, 2000 (17)
Height 6’3″ — Weight 157 lbs
According to most reports, Hofer has one thing going against him right now-lack of experience. The 17 year old made the Swift Current Broncos as an invite and served as the backup for the WHL champs. He should be the starter next season where he will have a chance to put his strengths on display for a full season.
Forecast – Hofer is still a month away from his 18th birthday. With two more seasons at Swift Current, he should be ready to turn pro and, based on his performance over those two seasons, could be in San Antonio or ECHL in 2020. Likelihood – 7/10
July 11, 1998 (19)
Height 5’8″ — Weight 170 lbs
Small and skilled forward that just finished his second season with Western Michigan. Like Perunovich, McGing went undrafted in 2017, but was productive in the NCAA and earned the 5th round pick. Longshot to make the NHL, but could provide some depth with further development.
Forecast – McGing has four year college player written all over him. Like all NCAA picks, there is always the chance he underperforms and the Blues walk away or he overperforms and the player walks away to go to Free Agency. If he does sign, I’d expect an appearance in 2020. Likelihood – 6/10
Jun 27, 2000 (17)
Height 6’1″ — Weight 174 lbs
Finished third on his junior team in scoring at age 17. Power play specialist. Needs to add some muscle and become more physical. Considering he is three days away from his 18th birthday, I don’t foresee that being a problem.
Forecast – We could see Laferriere in small doses as an ATO in the Spring of 19, but due to his young age, he won’t be here full time until 2020 at the earliest. Likelihood – 7/10
March 1, 2000 (18)
Height 6’1″ — Weight 203 lbs
Tucker is more of a throwback defenseman who uses his reach, stick positioning, and physical strength to effectively tie up forwards in the defensive zone. Offensively, he won’t do much and while his skating his fine, he could stand work on his speed over the next few seasons with Barrie (OHL).
Forecast – Another 18 year old out of the OHL meaning he won’t be in San Antonio until 2020 at the earliest. Could take a year or two of ECHL development before he’s ready for AHL time. Likelihood – 6/10
June 25th – Deadline for RFA Qualifying Offers
June 26-29 – St Louis Blues Prospect Camp
July 1 – Free Agency Begins