1. Blues to be well-represented at World Junior Championships later this month. Tarasenko cooling off in Mother Russia; still not getting first-line ice time. Defense prospect Joel Edmundson traded to WHL powerhouse Kamloops. New (and hopefully temporary) schedule for Prospect features.
By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department
PROSPECT TRANSACTIONS THIS WEEK
12-03-12: LW Stefan Della Rovere recalled to Peoria (AHL) from Evansville (ECHL).
12-03-12: D Brett Ponich reassigned from Peoria (AHL) to Evansville (ECHL) by St. Louis (NHL), on conditioning assignment.
12-03-12: RW Sebastian Wännström reassigned from Peoria (AHL) to Evansville (ECHL) by St. Louis (NHL).
12-06-12: D Joel Edmundson traded to Kamloops (WHL) from Moose Jaw (WHL). See below for details.
PROSPECT INJURY REPORT
10-27-12: RW Mackenzie Maceachern (Chicago/USHL) out indefinitely with concussion symptoms.
11-19-12: C Tyrel Seaman (Brandon/WHL) out indefinitely with concussion symptoms.
11-25-12: D Jani Hakanpää (Blues Espoo/SML) out through December with lower body injury.
12-01-12: D Nick Walters (Everett/WHL) out indefinitely with upper body injury.
After a very hot start to his KHL season, Vladimir Tarasenko has cooled off considerably.
The big winger raced out to ten goals and 19 points in his first 13 games with Russian side SKA St. Petersburg, but since Nov. 3 has just one goal and six points for an 11-14-25 total (plis-11, 6 PM) in 23 games.
Still wondering, we are, if T-90 regrets dropping that reported demand for an "out clause" to bail on SKA and go play in Peoria if he wasn't getting suitable ice time in Mother Russia... In two games this week, Tarasenko averaged just 14:45 of ice time per game, and the Blues' star prospect is currently sixth among SKA forwards in ice time, averaging just 14:18 per game, and averages 16.7 shifts per game, just eighth among SKA forwards.
By contrast, Ilya Kovalchuk (14-18-32, 26 GP) is averaging 19:35 per game to lead the club, and averages 21.6 shifts per game. Kovalchuk's linemates on the first unit, Tony Martensson (13-12-25, 32 GP) and Patrick Thoresen (11-19-30, 32 GP) average 17:57 and 17:50 of ice time, respectively, and 21.7 and 21.8 shifts per game respectively.
BLUES' ORGANIZATION TO BE WELL REPRESENTED AT 2013 U20 WORLD JUNIORS
Five Blues' prospects -- including a pair of goaltenders -- have been invited to selection camps for several strong contenders for World Junior Championship medals.
With the World Junior Championships scheduled to begin in Ufa (originally built as a fortress by Ivan the Terrible in 1574) on the day after Christmas, the leading hockey-playing nations of the world are gathering their best junior-age talent. Four of the world's leading hockey nations -- Canada, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland -- have tapped Blues' prospects for their selection camps.
Three of those countries -- Finland, Sweden and the Czechs -- will compete in Group A at the World Juniors along with lesser powers Switzerland and Latvia. Finland, who finished fourth in the 2012 WJC after losing the bronze medal game to Canada, announced a 29-man roster for their WJC Selection Camp, including 19-year-old defenseman Petteri Lindbohm (shown at right), a 6' 3, 194-pound physical left-shooting blueliner who was drafted in the sixth round (176th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Blues, and who has four assists and 55 penalty minutes for former chief scout Jarmo Kekalainen's Jokerit Helsinki club in Finnish Elite League (SM-Liiga) play this year.
Finland's Scandinavian neighbors in Sweden, meanwhile, have tapped 2011 draftee (132nd overall) Niklas Lundström as one of their 25-man roster for the selection camp which begins later this week.
The Czech Republic reached across the Atlantic to snag Russian-born Dmitri Jaskin from the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL. Jaskin, drafted 41st overall by the Blues in 2011, is having a breakthrough season with the Wildcats, and is expected to be one of the 23 players who will break camp with the Czech squad, as well as a significant offensive contributor as the Czechs look to break an eight-year medal drought at the World Juniors.
Canada, always an odds-on favorite for medal contention at the WJC, will compete in Group B with traditinal rivals Russia and the USA, as well as Slovakia and Germany. 37 [players have been invited to Canada's selection camp, and Blues' prospects Jordan Binnington (88th overall, 2011) and Ty Rattie (32nd overall, 2011) are both expected to don the Maple Leaf sweater when WJC competition gets under way.
GO WEST, YOUNG MAN...
2011 draft pick (46th overall) Joel Edmundson has the honor of becoming the first prospect in the Blues' organization to be traded this season, moving west from the Saskatchewan prairies to the mountains of British Columbia and a WHL power.
Edmundson, a 6'; 4, 208-pound physical defensive defenseman, was traded along with a fourth-round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft by the Moose Jaw Warriors to the Kamloops Blazers, where current Blues' bench boss Ken Hitchcock got his start as a high-level coach. In exchange for Edmundson and the Bantam Draft pick, the Blazers sent third-year defenseman Tyler Bell, prospect forward Jayden Halbgewachs, and a first-round selection in the 2015 Bantam Draft.
"Joel is a big, physical, two-way defenseman that will make us a harder team to play against," commented (Kamloops) General Manager Craig Bonner. "The addition of Joel comes at a price, but we feel that he will solidify our defense as we enter the second half of the season."
LINK to story at the Kamloops Blazers web site.
FEATURES THIS WEEK
Per a suggestion by Game Time reader "BleedBlue42," as of this week and until the NHL finally does come back, we will begin spreading out the Blues' prospect news over several days so as to give the citizens of Game Time Nation a reason to check in more often. The new and (hopefully) VERY temporary schedule is as follows:
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country... and one Blues' prospect who is bound to represent his country at the World Juniors distinguished himself this week. Details and discussion on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 PM Central.
With the 2012-13 season's Quarter Pole now in the rear-view mirror, the Peoria Rivermen have been consistently inconsistent on both offense and defense. Scoring, goaltending and special teams are all issues. Details and discussion on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7:00 PM Central.