Blues’ Snuggerud Excels at 2023 World Juniors

The St. Louis Blues drafted forward Jimmy Snuggerud from the University of Minnesota with the 23rd-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. The 18-year-old winger has done nothing but succeed with every chance he has gotten since then. The signs of what Snuggerud can become have been on display all season at Minnesota. He also played well at the Blues prospect camp last summer as well. He has all the tools to become an offensive force at the NHL level.

Snuggerud put all of that on display at the 2023 World Junior Championship (WJC). It was his first appearance and it likely won’t be his last with Team USA. Although it didn’t end the way that the U.S. wanted it to, there were a lot of positives from the tournament for them. I’ve been so impressed with Snuggerud. Let’s discuss how he performed at the 2023 WJC and what will happen with him moving forward.

Snuggerud & Cooley Were Fantastic Together

Both Snuggerud and Logan Cooley are teammates at Minnesota, and their chemistry was evident in this tournament. They were dynamite on the top line for the U.S., so it’s easy to see why Cooley was the Arizona Coyotes‘ third-overall pick in the 2022 Draft. Without these two, I don’t know if the U.S. gets out of the group stage.

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In seven games, Snuggerud tallied five goals and eight assists for 13 points and finished third overall in tournament scoring. He was first among wingers in scoring with Canada’s Joshua Roy behind him. Only Cooley and soon-to-be first-overall pick in the 2023 Draft Connor Bedard were ahead of him in scoring. That’s fantastic for Snuggerud.

He was impressive in several ways throughout the World Juniors. Coming out of the 2022 Draft, many knew of his shooting ability, but his playmaking is severely underrated. He is a force in the offensive zone, and he carried it over to this tournament from his dominance at Minnesota this season.

2024 WJC Will Be Perfect for Snuggerud

The 2023 WJC was the first of likely two for Snuggerud. He should be an automatic selection for their roster for the 2024 WJC. The only scenarios where he won’t be there are if he is in the Blues lineup in December or if he is injured. He’ll be one of the leaders of the 2024 U.S. team, and I expect him to be ready for that challenge. If Cooley isn’t with the Coyotes by December, then I expect he’ll be there as well.

Jimmy Snuggerud St. Louis Blues
Jimmy Snuggerud, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Snuggerud was both dominant and consistent in his first WJC, so I can’t imagine how elite he could be in his second go-around. Running it back with a first line of Cooley, Snuggerud, and Cutter Gauthier is intriguing for the U.S. in the 2024 WJC. Gauthier was the Philadelphia Flyers’ fifth-overall pick in the 2022 Draft. He had 10 points in seven games at the 2023 WJC. The bottom line is that Snuggerud will be an essential part of the 2024 U.S. WJC team and could be in the running for the captaincy.

As for what’s to come with Snuggerud, he will return to Minnesota to finish the 2022-23 season. They are ranked third in the most recent college hockey rankings with a record of 15-5-0. I imagine he and Cooley will return to Minnesota with the hopes of winning a title. The future is bright for Snuggerud, and the Blues must be happy with his development over the past six months since drafting him. He is one of three first-round picks for the Blues since 2020, and they’ve all developed well to this point. They’ll all be major contributors to the Blues in no time.

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