Three St. Louis Blues prospects who have spent the time during the lockout with the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen will be joining the Blues training camp next week. Defensemen Ian Cole and Taylor Chorney, along with forward Jaden Schwartz, are already in St. Louis for informal skates and workouts. Highly touted Russian prospect Vladimir Tarasenko has also joined the team.
Cole, a 2007 first round pick, split last season between Peoria and St. Louis. He had three goals and 14 points this season in 34 games for the Rivermen, and could have a decent chance to make the final roster. Chorney was signed to a one-year, two-way deal for this season after four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers organization. He has 61 games of NHL experience and would need a pretty strong camp to stick around in the NHL, but will likely be the first called up in case of injury. Cole played collegiate hockey at Notre Dame and Chorney starred at the University of North Dakota.
Schwartz was one of the the team’s first round draft picks in 2010 (14th overall, Tarasenko was 16th overall) after just one USHL season for the Tri-City Storm (33 goals, 83 points). He is considered one of the premier prospects in the organization and spent two seasons at Colorado College before turning pro and joining the Blues for seven games. He had two goals in his limited action last season and was off to a good start in Peoria this season (nine goals, 19 points). He will be the youngest player at training camp but should have a good chance at a roster spot.
The Blues had hoped Tarasenko might come to North America and play in Peoria during the lockout, but he stayed in Russia. He had 14 goals and 31 points in 31 games for St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL during the lockout, where he was a teammate of Ilya Kovalchuk. Coach Ken Hitchcock could use his speed on a line with veterans Andy McDonald and Alex Steen.
The Blues’ lineup is definitely not one of the youngest in the league, yet they made the playoffs last season with most of the same pieces in place. Look for these youngsters to have an impact in St. Louis this season as the Blues try and get back to the playoffs.