Blues Prospect Report: Perunovich, Hofer, Bolduc & More

Welcome back to another St. Louis Blues Prospect Report. This report checks in on five of the Blues’ top prospects across their respective leagues and provides an update on their progress as they navigate their way to the NHL. Regardless if these prospects are drafted in the first round, a last-overall draft choice, or signed as an undrafted free agent, there will always be individuals and groups watching to see what is coming down the pipeline as future reinforcements and pillars for the franchise.

Nikita Alexandrov (AHL)

Alexandrov has hit a bit of an offensive slump over the last few months during his first full season in the American Hockey League (AHL). During his last check-in, he had scored three goals and two assists in eight games for the Springfield Thunderbirds and was well on his way to exceeding 20 goals and 40 points. As of today, the Russian forward now has appeared in 30 of 39 games, scoring six goals and 15 points, dropping his pace to 13 and 32, respectively. His three power-play goals this season are tied for sixth-best on the team.

Nikita Alexandrov St. Louis Blues Draft
Nikita Alexandrov, St. Louis Blues, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Drafted in the second round at 62nd overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Alexandrov is still only 21 years old and has plenty of time to develop into the well-rounded center prospect that the organization has envisioned him to be. Though he may not develop into a top-scoring forward, he is one that the team should enjoy having as he does all of the little things well. His play in all three zones should earn him some looks sooner than later, ultimately fitting in nicely in a bottom-six and eventually a middle-six role in the future. The Blues organization has needed to flex some of their forward depth this season as Dakota Joshua, Logan Brown, and Nathan Walker have all jumped into the mix without trouble this season. This depth could prove beneficial to Alexandrov, allowing him the time he needs to continue his development.

Zachary Bolduc (QMJHL)

Bolduc, the Blues’ first-round draft choice during the 2021 NHL Draft, has been impressive this season for the Quebec Remparts. His 15 goals this season have him currently tied for second on his team, while his 35 points rank third. The Canadian has been not only been a standout for his team but across the league as well. He ranks 18th in goals scored this season and 21st in total points in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

Though the 2020-21 season happening was a miracle, it’s nice to see a step forward in his development. Bolduc’s 0.52 goal per game production this season is 15 points ahead of last year’s 0.37 goal per game pace. The forward saw a substantial drop in shooting percentage after scoring at a 20 percent rate during the 2019-20 season and dropping to 8.3 percent during the 2020-21 season. Like the rest of the league, Bolduc seems to be returning to normal and currently shooting at a 15.6 percent conversion rate. Over his last 10 games, the forward has eight goals and 14 points.

Joel Hofer – (AHL)

One of the organization’s top goaltending prospects, the 21-year-old currently ranks 38th in the AHL with a 3.17 goals-against average and 28th with a .901 save percentage. His first full season in the league has seen him splitting time with Charlie Lindgren and even time in St. Louis as COVID-19 commanded a call-up earlier than expected. The netminder is 10-8-2 this season in the AHL and 11-9-2 including his time in St. Louis.

Related: Blues Prospect Report: Bolduc, Alexandrov, Hofer & More

Hofer stays square to shooters, is calm in nature, and uses his 6-foot-5 frame to his advantage. Should he continue to develop well, he has the tools to handle a starter’s workload down the line. With Blues goaltenders Jordan Binnington and Ville Husso currently battling it out for the number one goalie in the organization, he has time to settle into his role in the minors and develop at a reasonable pace.

Scott Perunovich (AHL)

After scoring two goals and 20 points in 12 games for the Thunderbirds this season, the Blues called up their top defensive prospect, and he’s been a mainstay in the club’s lineup on a nightly basis. Relegated to the third pairing unit, the 23-year-old has six assists through 19 games this season while averaging 15:27 of ice time. The defenseman has been out with an undisclosed injury since Jan. 15 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he skated 13:48 during the game. With the Blues currently on a break until Feb. 10, hopefully, he will return to the lineup then or shortly after.

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

The 2020 Hobey Baker award winner was drafted by the Blues 45th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to the beginning of the 2020-21 season, the Blues announced he would undergo shoulder surgery and be out for several months. Time will tell if this could be a nagging injury or something to be concerned with over the next few years.

Simon Robertsson (SHL)

Another draft choice from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Robertson is currently playing in Sweden, splitting time between three different teams: Skellefteå AIK in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), the J20 Nationell League with Skellefteå AIK, and Sweden’s Under-20 International squad. During his first look this season, he was scoreless through his first 17 games in the SHL. Today, he has appeared in 33 games and has scored four goals and five points.

The 18-year-old has continued his scoring ways for the J20 team, scoring nine goals and 15 points through 13 games. He is currently eighth on the team in scoring but has played the lowest number of games of the top 18 players rostered. His scoring upside could lead to a polished top-six forward or a very dependable middle-six forward in the NHL. Blues fans could see him in the AHL within the next season or two as he continues to develop and begins his transition to the North American style of hockey.

Looking to the Future

Looking at the prospect pool, the organization does not have top-end talent coming their way through their draft picks. However, the Blues boast plenty of prospects that can be injected into the lineup over the next several years that can serve as key contributors. St. Louis is in good shape to remain competitive and a Stanley Cup contender over the next several years. The upcoming prospects continue to provide the team options to rely upon each night.

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