By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department
St. Louis Game Time PROSPECT SUNDAYS
A total of 18 Blues' prospects skated for clubs that qualified for post-season play this year, not including college players taking part in their respective leagues' post-season (in which pretty much every team participates). No college players managed to find themselves in the NCAA Tournament this year, however, marking the first time on several years that the Blues have failed to have at least one prospect with a shot at a national championship.
The 18 prospects involved in post-season play are as follows, in alphabetical order: Jake Allen (Drummondville / QMJHL); Sergei Andronov (CSKA / KHL); Mark Cundari (Windsor / OHL); T.J. Fast (Alaska / ECHL); Simon Hjalmarsson (Rögle BK / SEL); Jori Lehtera (Tappara / SM-Liiga); James Livingston (Plymouth / OHL); Philip McRae (Plymouth / OHL); Anthony Nigro (Ottawa / OHL); Anthony Peluso (Alaska / ECHL); Alex Pietrangelo (Barrie / OHL); Brett Ponich (Portland / WHL); David Rundblad (Skellefteå AIK / SEL); Ian Schultz (Calgary / WHL); Tyler Shattock (Calgary / WHL); David Shields (Erie / OHL); Max Tardy (Tri-City / USHL); Ryan Turek (Alaska / ECHL).
And after this week's postseason play in the various leagues, the following prospects are now done for the 2009-10 season: Andronov, Fast, Lehtera, Livingston, McRae, Peluso, Rundblad, Shields, Tardy, Turek. Ten are down; eight prospects still have a shot at postseason glory with their respective clubs. In this week's Prospect Playoff Update, we'll focus on the players who have been sent home for the season.
The only North American pros in the Blues' organization to take part in post-season play this year, the Alaska Aces were forced to play their first two playoff games in Wasilla (yes, that Wasilla) rather than at their normal home rink, Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, due to a scheduling conflict with Sullivan Arena. The limited seating capacity (approx. 1800) in Wasilla nullified any home-ice advantage the Aces may have had, and after winning Game One of the series 4-3 against the visiting Stockton (CA) Thunder, the Aces dropped three straight (one in Wasilla, two in Stockton) to lose a first-round playoff series for the first time in franchise history.
All three Blues' prospects involved -- Fast, Peluso and Turek -- managed at least one goal in the series, but more was needed from them and the other members of the Aces, who were outscored 23-15 in the four-game set by the high-powered Thunder.
2009 draft pick Sergei Andronov is the only current Blues' prospect playing in the KHL at the moment, although the Blues still hold the NHL rights to several other players in that league... most notably Andronov's CSKA teammate, goaltender Konstantin Barulin.
Andronov split time this year between Lada Togliatti and CSKA, being cut by Lada on Christmas Day only to latch on with CSKA shortly thereafter. The skilled winger had a decent season, scoring ten goals (3 PPG, 3 GWG) and 22 points in 52 games with a minus-3 and 26 PIM, but was held pointless in CSKA's opening-round three-games-to-none loss to HC MVD. Andronov played all three games, averaging about 14 minutes of ice time per game, and is eligible to play in the AHL next season if he should choose to come across the water.
Jori Lehtera and Tappara Tampere have been eliminated from the SM-Liiga playoffs in the quarterfinals, at the hands of KalPa Kuopio. After being tied at two games apiece at this time last week, KalPa scratched out one-goal wins at home (4-3 in Game Five) on Apr. 5, and in Tampere (2-1 in the deciding Game Six) on Apr. 7. Lehtera centered the first line for Tappara all season long, and played 18:55 and 22:00 in the last two games in an attempt to help Tappara advance to the next round.
KalPa now faces HPK Helsinki in one SM-Liiga semifinal matchup, while TPS Tampere and JYP Jyvaskyla meet in the other. The winners of the two semifinal series will meet for the SM-Liiga championship.
In the Swedish Elite League, a first-round pick of the Blues has been eliminated, while a second-round selection faces relegation with his team to the Allsvenskan for 2010-11.
Defense prospect David Rundblad and Skellefteå AIK knocked off defending Elitserien champion Färjestads BK in the opening round by winning five games in a seven-game set, but were beaten in the Elitserien semifinals four games to one by HV-71.
HV-71 took three straight games from AIK this week, pulling ahead in the series with a 3-2 overtime win in Skellefteå on Apr. 5, and then winning twice at home (3-2 on Apr. 7, and 4-1 on Apr. 8) to take the series victory. HV-71 now faces Djurgärdens IF for the Elitserien crown.
Simon Hjalmarsson and Rögle BK Angleholm finished last in the 12-team Elitserien during the Division Rounds (regular season) with a record of 13-30-12 in 55 games, and are now in the Relegation Pool (Kval till Elitserien) along with 11th-place finisher Södertälje SK and the top four finishers in the Allsvenskan. Rögle BK (3-3-3) currently sits in third place in the tournament with 14 total points, behind first-place Södertälje SK with 20 and second-place AIK IF with 14. To avoid relegation, Rögle BK must defeat Södertälje SK today, and hope that the last-place Växjö Lakers HC can knock off AIK today as well.
The Tri-City (Kearney, NE) Storm were the last team to make it into the United States League playoffs, winning on the last day of the regular season to edge out the Sioux City (IA) Musketeers by a single point. Earlier this week, the last team in became one of the first teams eliminated.
2009 Blues' draftee (202nd overall) Max Tardy has committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for next season, and he was able to begin preparing for that transition after he and the Storm were swept in three straight games by traditional USHL power Omaha in the opening round of the playoffs. Tardy, a power-play specialist, was held off the scoresheet almost completely by Omaha, tallying just one even-strength assist in the three games as the Storm were outscored by the Lancers 17-7.
The rest of your Game Time weekly prospect playoff update after the jump...
|BRAMPTON||┘||│||│||└||S STE MARIE|
|PR EDW ISLAND||┘||│||│||└||LEWISTON|
|Jake ALLEN||Sergei ANDRONOV||Mark CUNDARI||T.J FAST|
|Simon HJALMARSSON||Jori LEHTERA||James LIVINGSTON||Philip McRAE||Anthony NIGRO|
|Anthony PELUSO||Alex PIETRANGELO||Brett PONICH||David RUNDBLAD||Ian SCHULTZ|
|Tyler SHATTOCK||David SHIELDS||Max TARDY||Ryan TUREK|
|ST. LOUIS BLUES 2009-10 POST-SEASON PROSPECT STATS as of 04-11-10 -- ALL LEAGUES|
|3 (78) '09||ANDRONOV, Sergei||RW/L||6-00||183||07-19-89||Moscow, RUS||CSKA Moscow (KHL)||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|F/A '08||CUNDARI, Mark||D/L||5-10||200||04-23-90||Toronto, ON||Windsor (OHL)||8||1||6||7||+ 7||14||1||0||0|
|Trade '08||FAST, T.J.||D/L||6-01||190||09-02-87||Calgary, AB||Alaska (ECHL)||4||2||1||3||- 3||0||1||0||0|
|2 (39) '07||HJALMARSSON, Simon||RW/R||5-11||170||02-01-89||Varnamo, SWE||Rögle BK (SEL)||9||4||5||9||+ 7||14||1||0||0|
|3 (65) '08||LEHTERA, Jori||C/L||6-02||191||12-23-87||Helsinki, FIN||Tappara (SML)||9||1||9||10||0||8||0||0||0|
|3 (70) '08||LIVINGSTON, James||RW/R||6-02||213||03-08-90||Halifax, NS||Plymouth (OHL)||9||1||1||2||- 5||6||0||0||0|
|2 (33) '08||McRAE, Philip||C/L||6-03||191||03-15-90||Apple Valley, MN||Plymouth (OHL)||9||6||9||15||+ 7||11||3||0||3|
|6 (155) '08||NIGRO, Anthony||C/L||6-00||189||01-11-90||Woodbridge, ON||Ottawa (OHL)||11||6||6||12||+ 7||12||1||0||1|
|6 (160) '07||PELUSO, Anthony||RW/R||6-04||235||04-18-89||King City, ON||Alaska (ECHL)||4||1||0||1||+ 1||6||0||0||0|
|1 (4) '08||PIETRANGELO, Alex||D/R||6-03||206||01-18-90||King City, ON||Barrie (OHL)||8||2||9||11||+ 9||0||1||0||0|
|4 (48) '09||PONICH, Brett||D/L||6-06||205||02-22-91||Edmonton, AB||Portland (WHL)||12||1||2||3||- 5||13||0||0||0|
|1 (17) '09||RUNDBLAD, David||D/R||6-02||190||10-08-90||Lycksele, SWE||Skellefteå AIK (SEL)||12||0||1||1||- 3||2||0||0||0|
|4 (87) '08||SCHULTZ, Ian||RW/R||6-02||200||02-04-90||Calgary, AB||Calgary (WHL)||12||5||3||8||+ 1||11||3||0||0|
|4 (108) '09||SHATTOCK, Tyler||RW/R||6-03||190||02-03-90||Salmon Arm, BC||Calgary (WHL)||12||5||10||15||+ 8||14||1||0||1|
|6 (168) '09||SHIELDS, David||D/R||6-03||216||01-27-91||Rochester, NY||Erie (OHL)||4||0||0||0||- 4||12||0||0||0|
|7 (202) '09||TARDY, Max||C/R||6-00||188||10-27-90||Duluth, MN||Tri-City (USHL)||3||0||1||1||- 1||4||0||0||0|
|4 (94) '06||TUREK, Ryan||D/R||6-00||185||09-22-87||Southfield, MI||Alaska (ECHL)||4||1||0||1||- 2||4||0||0||0|
|Acq'd||Player||Ps/Ct||Ht||Wt||Birthdate||Birthplace||2009-10 Club/League||GP||Mins||GA||SO||GAA||W-L-OT||Shts||Sv %|
|2 (34) '08||ALLEN, Jake||G/L||6-02||175||08-07-90||Fredericton, NB||Drummondville (QMJHL)||9||532||17||1||1.92||8-1-0||178||0.904|