Blues 2022-23 Training Camp Roster Breakdown & Predictions

With the beginning of the 2022-23 NHL season nearly upon us, training camps around the league are about to get underway. In preparation for both camp and the preseason, the St. Louis Blues have announced their 53-player training camp roster. Let’s take a deeper look into the players who will be taking part and get into who I believe will make the final 23-player roster for opening night.

Jake Neighbours and Scott Perunovich Training Camp Roster Breakdown & Predictions
Jake Neighbours and Scott Perunovich (The Hockey Writers)

Training Camp Roster

Forwards – 29

Noel Acciari (52), Nikita Alexandrov (59), Anthony Angello (46), Andrei Bakanov (86), Ivan Barbashev (49), Will Bitten (42), Zachary Bolduc (76), Logan Brown (22), Pavel Buchnevich (89), Martin Frk (29), Brayden Guy (84), Matthew Highmore (15), Klim Kostin (37), Jordan Kyrou (25), Mathias Laferriere (58), Josh Leivo (17), Hugh McGing (56), Dylan McLaughlin (39), Jake Neighbours (63), Ryan O’Reilly (90), Tyler Pitlick (9), Brandon Saad (20), Brayden Schenn (10), Landon Siim (82), Vladimir Tarasenko (91), Robert Thomas (18), Nathan Todd (61), Nathan Walker (26), Keean Washkurak (40)

Notable absence: Alexey Toropchenko (13) – recovering from offseason shoulder surgery

Defensemen – 18

Robert Bortuzzo (41), Michael Buchinger (62), Justin Faulk (72), Tyson Galloway (71), Marc-Andre Gaudet (87), Matthew Kessel (51), Torey Krug (47), Nick Leddy (4), Griffin Luce (64), Brady Lyle (33), Niko Mikkola (77), Colton Parayko (55), Scott Perunovich (48), Calle Rosen (43), Steven Santini (36), Marco Scandella (6), Tyler Tucker (75), Luke Witkowski (28)

Goalies – 6

Jordan Binnington (50), Will Cranley (85), Colten Ellis (45), Thomas Greiss (1), Joel Hofer (30), Vadim Zherenko (60)

Camp Battles to Watch

The Blues are returning a lot of players from last season’s 109-point team, so there are only a few spots up for grabs in camp. Their top-six forwards are nearly already set while five of their six defensemen are presumably locked in as well. With that being said, there are still a few players worth watching to see if they can compete for a starting job.

Bottom-Six Wingers

The Blues’ top six is set through some combination of Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, Brandon Saad, Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, and Pavel Buchnevich. The third and fourth lines have a few guarantees as well in Brayden Schenn, Ivan Barbashev, Noel Acciari, Nathan Walker, and Alexey Toropchenko (once he recovers from shoulder surgery). However, there are a few forward spots on both the third and fourth lines that are up for grabs. Theoretically, Jake Neighbours, Klim Kostin, and Logan Brown are the three key players to watch for these spots.

Neighbours, 20 years old, will be given every opportunity to prove he belongs in the NHL this season. He made the roster out of camp last season, both because he had a great camp and because the Blues needed to fill a spot until Oskar Sundqvist returned from long-term injured reserve (LTIR). He’s one of the Blues’ top prospects, plays both offense and defense very well, and is physical on the ice. I believe if he has a good camp, he’s got the first shot at being on the third line alongside Schenn and Barbashev.

Related: Blues 2022 Traverse City Roster Headlined by Bolduc & Neighbours

Klim Kostin has bounced between St. Louis and the American Hockey League (AHL) the last two seasons due to his inconsistent play at the NHL level. When he’s got his game going right, he’s a typical power forward: dangerous enough as a playmaker with the puck who is going to use his size (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) and tenacity at all times. When he’s not on his game, he’s inconsistent and a non-factor on the ice. As such, this is likely his last chance with the Blues to make the roster and grab a starting job.

Logan Brown St. Louis Blues
Logan Brown, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

Logan Brown is a former high draft pick (11th overall in 2016 with the Ottawa Senators). He’s got the size (6-foot-6, 218 pounds) and skill to be a difference maker at the NHL level. The issue he’s run into with the Blues is finding a steady spot in the lineup. In his first season with the team last year, he scored 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 39 games. He’s naturally a center, but he’s not had much of a chance to play there given the depth at the position with O’Reilly, Thomas, Schenn, and Barbashev taking the spots down the middle. For Brown to make this team, he’s going to need to develop his skills as a winger and show he can use his size to his advantage in both the offensive and defensive zone.

Left-handed Defensemen

The Blues have a logjam on the left side of their defense. In all, they’ve got Krug, Leddy, Scandella, Mikkola, and Perunovich all on the roster. Krug and Leddy are locks for the top-two left defensemen spots, leaving Scandella, Mikkola, and Perunovich to battle it out for the left side of the team’s third pairing alongside Bortuzzo.

Fairly or unfairly, Scandella drew much of the fanbase’s ire for most of 2021-22. He played well when he was acquired in 2020, but the last two seasons have left much to be desired. He’s been very leaky in the defensive zone, leading to many high-danger scoring chances while he’s on the ice. His cap hit of $3.275 million isn’t helping him either, as many would like to see those assets spent elsewhere. He’ll have a chance to earn his spot in the lineup with a good camp, but he’s got an equal chance of finding himself on the bench or missing from the roster altogether.

Niko Mikkola St. Louis Blues
Niko Mikkola, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Blues like what they have in Niko Mikkola. So much so that they gave him a one-year, $1.9 million contract this summer to keep him in St. Louis and continue his development. At 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, he’s got the size the team wants in a defenseman. However, he’s not going to be counted on for much offensive contribution (three goals, and 10 assists in 54 games last season). To earn a spot in the lineup, he’s going to need to use his size and reach to his advantage and improve upon the physical aspect of his game. He could crack the lineup to begin the season, although it’s more likely that he bounces in and out of the lineup depending on the matchup.

Related: St. Louis Blues’ Top 10 Prospects for 2022-23

While Scott Perunovich is seemingly ready for a spot in the everyday lineup, with the way this team is constructed, it’s possible he could find himself as the odd man out. He’s a smaller left-handed, offensive-minded defender, which is exactly what the Blues have currently in both Krug and Leddy. Having a third player on that side with a similar skill set creates a glaring defensive vulnerability. It’s not to say that it can’t work, we just have yet to see it in action to say that it could. Perunovich is likely to get a lot of opportunities during camp and the preseason to prove he can be a part of this team on the third pairing.

Roster Prediction

Forwards – 8

Left WingCenterRight Wing
Brandon SaadRyan O’ReillyJordan Kyrou
Pavel BuchnevichRobert ThomasVladimir Tarasenko
Jake NeighboursBrayden SchennIvan Barbashev
Logan BrownNoel AcciariNathan Walker
Bench: Josh LeivoInjured: Alexey ToropchenkoNotable Omission: Klim Kostin

Defensemen – 8

Left SideRight Side
Torey KrugJustin Faulk
Nick LeddyColton Parayko
Scott PerunovichRobert Bortuzzo
Bench: Marco ScandellaBench: Niko Mikkola

Goalies – 2

Jordan Binnington
Backup: Thomas Greiss

Training camp for the Blues kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 22. They’ll practice for two days before traveling to Wichita, KS to take on the Arizona Coyotes for their first preseason game on Saturday, Sept. 24. They’re returning a lot of the same faces from last season, but there will be a few battles in camp that are worth keeping an eye on.