It's been awhile since I've posted any Blues news.  Most of my time has been spent doing the U23 articles (still one more left for the Knights).   However I think it's time to provide a bit of an update.  It's pretty clear the tank is on albliet not very successfully.  According to the plan, this is the last year and the hope is to get a top 4 pick and  start to compete for the playoffs again next year. I've been analysing my roster and as currently constructed a jump to the playoffs maybe a stretch.   With the exception of my defence (more on them in my next article), most of my prospects seem to be a few years from contributing.     Lets start with a look at the forwards. 

NHL_Forwards.JPG

There are probably 2-4 potential top 6 talents in that group.  McMichael and Krebs and maybe Zadina.  Arvidsson is a top 6 talent but considering he's a UFA, there is a good chance he won't be around next year.  Both Krebs and McMichael look to need another year or 2 (maybe 3) before becoming top 6 ready.  Zadina may never actually get there. 

Steel, Jost, Balcers, Blais, Lindblom and Jonsson-Fjalby are all NHLers and should provide decent enough bottom 6 support. 

Lets have a look at the rest of the forwards in the system:

Forwards_in_the_system.JPG

At the AHL level, only Tristen Robins (off to a great start by the way) projects as a top 6 talent and Ethan Cardwell is probably more of a 3rd liner if he makes it at all.   At  best Robins will be an NEFHL contributer in 2 years, if not 3.  The rest of thoes guys won't likely contribute or progress beyond fringe NHL'ers.  

The prospect group looks much more promising - don't they always?  The best of the bunch is probably Lysell who will likley make his NHL debut this year.  Shane Wright of course is getting a few games in this year but won't have decent ratings for at least 2 years.  Others who could contribute to top 6 minutes in the next 2-3 years are Mesar and maybe Rashevsky and Dorofeyev.  I'm still wondering about Dorofeyev.  He had a great year last year but has been noticeably absent this year. There is some other top 6 talent there such as Khusnutdinov and Klimovich but they are probably 3-4 years off.  

As you can see, the Blues will be void of any real top 6 talent next year.  The only hope is a trade or a top end Free Agent signing.  As it stands now, a FA signing is the most likley as the Blues intend to stick to the path of developing thier own talent from within.  There will be lots of cap space and a top 6 forward will be number 2 on the FA signing priority list. 

Stay tuned for the next installment - The defence.