The St. Louis Blues will have the 120th pick in the fourth round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. This will be 32 picks after their third-round selection, but it will be their third overall pick, as they don’t have a second-rounder.
The Blues were without a fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft. Their last selection in the fourth round was Tanner Dickinson in 2020, a promising center in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). As for their other recent picks in the fourth round, some of the names include Alexei Toropchenko, Ville Husso, and Joel Hofer. That is proof that teams can find useful players in this round.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
None of that is different with this class, the depth is there for the Blues to find a player with this pick. They should be able to have a ton of options with this pick. Once again, I’ll be using the Central Scouting (CS) rankings and our very own Peter Baracchini’s May rankings to measure these players.
1. Cole Spicer, Right Wing, USA U18 (USHL)
CS Ranking: 121st (North America) / THW Ranking: 128th (Baracchini)
Spicer has spent the last couple of seasons in the United States Development Program (USDP), playing for the U17 team last season and the U18 team this season. He will go to Minnesota-Duluth to play college hockey next season. He certainly grew from last season to this one, becoming a much better scorer.
Spicer had 20 goals in 58 games for the U18 team this season. With the U17 team last season, he had just eight points in 29 games. He’s a solid two-way forward, with that being the best part of his game. He isn’t the flashiest player, but he makes the right play often, and that’s a huge part of what the Blues like in a forward. As has been the case for a lot of my draft targets, he is a hard-working player that makes up for his lack of skill by making the tough plays.
“Spicer plays an energetic, yet responsible two-way game. Despite his small stature, he competes hard and gets into the dirty areas around the opposing net. He shows good vision with the ability to make quick decisions in the offensive zone and though he may not be the flashiest playmaker, he consistently makes the smart read to string plays together and sustain possessions for his team. He will probably never be the main offensive driver on his line but he has the hockey IQ to be a strong complementary piece alongside skilled players.”– Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects
While some folks believe that Spicer could be a third-round pick, I believe that he will fall into the fourth round and potentially be there for the Blues. He should be able to develop some of his game and become an even more complete player at Minnesota-Duluth. He’s a perfect fit for the Blues’ system and would be an excellent addition.
2. Zam Plante, Center, Chicago Steel (USHL)
CS Ranking: 64th (NA) / THW Ranking: 124th (Baracchini)
Plante is another Minnesota-Duluth commit, and he also played in the United States Hockey League this season. He was an elite high school player at Hermantown High School in Minnesota, scoring 64 points in 22 games in 2021-22. He was a nominee for Hockey Player of the Year by the USA Today.
He won’t play at Minnesota-Duluth until the 2023-24 season, meaning that he will be able to dominate another season of junior hockey. He’s another hard-working player that makes up for his size with work ethic, which showed in his quality time with the Steel this season.
“Zam is a really fun player to watch… He plays the game with a lot of creativity, he sees the ice and he makes other players better. He plays with pace and the most impressive thing about him is that he has that high-end skill level but he also competes consistently. That will help our team and it bodes well for him in the future.”Roger Grillo, Under-18 Team USA General Manager
The work ethic is well-known and off the charts for Plante, with hockey in his blood (‘All-Area Boys Hockey Player of the Year: Zam Plante’s magical season ends with his mission accomplished,’ Duluth News Tribune, 04/06/22). His grandfather was an elite boys hockey coach in Hermantown, and his father played eight NHL seasons, so Plante has grown up with the game his entire life. The Blues should want this type of player in their system, and they could have the chance to take him in the fourth round if the board falls their way. They drafted a similar player to Plante in 2020 with Jake Neighbours, but that was in the first round. The value for Plante could be massive in the fourth round.
3. Filip Nordberg, Defense, Södertälje SK J20 (Nationell)
CS Ranking: 52nd (Europe) / THW Ranking: 125th (Baracchini)
The final player on the list is Nordberg, a big defenseman from Sweden who plays forSödertälje SK J20. The size and two-way ability are the biggest things to like about his game. He scored 27 points in 42 games last season for Södertälje SK J20, including two playoff points in three games.
The hockey IQ can be improved as Nordberg develops his game, but he has a lot of tools to work with already. He’s a phenomenal skater and makes smooth plays with the puck, the 6-foot-4 frame is a major bonus as well. He could very well be a gem in the middle of the draft for whoever takes him.
“He is very laid back defensively. He likes to wait and see what the attacker does before stepping in and try to take the puck away. That can lead to him ending up a little bit on his back foot when players challenge him but it also leads to him being able to break up play nicely. Nordberg anticipates passes well and uses his stick to break up play on a consistent basis… Sometimes his decision making is lacking and he tries to do too much and loses the puck.”– Mikael Holm, Swedish Scout/ SMAHT Scouting
As the quote indicates, decision-making must improve for Nordberg. The good thing about that is it’s a natural progression for most players, it should not take a lot to develop that for him. There is a lot of value in taking a chance on Nordberg, who has a lot of upside and could step in sooner rather than later. The Blues will have a lot of opportunities to find a fourth-round gem, and that could come with any of these three players.
I have been covering sports for nearly a decade. I started with FanSided as a Baseball Contributor. Now I am writing about the NHL and the St. Louis Blues for The Hockey Writers. I grew up in Central Illinois as a huge fan of every sport. Finally, I do various podcasting across all major platforms.