After the St. Louis Blues pick at No. 92 in the third round, they will pick once again in the fourth round with the 123rd pick. With the depth of this class, we could certainly see a gem found by a team in the fourth round or later.
This will be the third-to-last pick for the Blues, as they do have two picks in the fifth round, one that they got from the Carolina Hurricanes in the Justin Faulk trade. Let’s see where they can go with their fourth-round choice.
1. D Alexander Nikishin (Moscow Spartak, KHL)
CS Ranking: 24 (EU) / THW Ranking: 102
Alexander Nikishin is another player who could potentially fall into the fourth round and would be a steal. There are a lot of varying reports on his draft stock, you could see him anywhere from the late third round into the late part of the fifth round.
Nikishin comes in at 6-foot-3 and 196 pounds, with a left-handed shot. He played 29 games in the KHL in 2019-20, scoring three points. He produced well in the MHL in 2018-19, where he tallied 25 points in 62 games.
Here’s a quote from one scout on him, “His passing ability is as good as could be, his specialty being the backhand saucer. He’s great at drawing the opposition in with a fake shot or deke, and then making a simple pass to a now opened teammate. He doesn’t make a lot of breakout passes, but that’s because he’s usually the one skating the puck out of the zone.”
Overall, this is a player that the Blues should very much have at the top of their board if he is still there with the 123rd pick, great size and room to grow into his body and become a solid two-way defender.
2. D Wyatt Kaiser (Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL)
CS Ranking: 37 (NA) / THW Ranking: 125
This may be a bit of a reach, as most mock drafts have Wyatt Kaiser going in the third round, but you never know. He is a Minnesota high school blueliner who is committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. So he is certainly a few years away from being an entry-level guy if he reaches that point.
Kaiser comes in at 6-foot-0 and 173 pounds, with a left-handed shot. A simple player with good instincts and sound defensive mechanics with room to grow while playing at the collegiate level. Kaiser says he has “hockey in his blood.”
A note from a scout on him, “Very mobile and poised and will pinch down or drop back door but is not a gambler. He wants to play his position without leaving his team susceptible to odd-man breaks.”
Another key to his game is the vision combined with those instincts, a very smart player. As I mentioned, it would be fairly surprising to see him slip into the late fourth round but would be a huge get for the Blues if he does.
3. LW Carson Bantle (Madison Capitals, USHL)
CS Ranking: 104 (NA) / THW Ranking: 129
Carson Bantle is a player that likely lines up in the late portion of the fourth round, possibly early fifth, that’s likely due to how raw some of his traits are at this moment. However, he has the tools to develop into a solid NHL player. His journey to the Madison Capitals has been interesting, as he’s bounced around plenty in his junior career.
Bantle took a large step forward this season, moving up some boards. He was 120th in the midterm CS ranking and finished 104th for the final. This is a giant winger, at 6-foot-4 and 194 pounds.
His skating needs some improvement in the technique and stride department. But he works hard and is not afraid to work along the wall during every shift. His hockey sense is sound as well. He knows passing lanes and when to get pucks on net.
I think the Blues would enjoy grabbing a large winger in the fourth round, especially one that could end up being something for them. If he can develop his skating, he has everything you need to be a solid NHL winger.
4. C Ethan Cardwell (Barrie Colts, OHL)
CS Ranking: 70 (NA) / THW Ranking: 142
Ethan Cardwell is the first center on this list. He’s young, and a very raw, prospect in terms of his physicality, with lots of room to grow for a player that is likely to be there for the Blues in the fourth round.
Cardwell comes in at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, but isn’t ready to play in the NHL, at least for a couple of seasons. His production in 2019-20 in the OHL was excellent. He tallied 21 points in 37 games with the Saginaw Spirit before being dealt to the Barrie Colts, where he scored 26 points in 26 games.
One evaluator’s thoughts on him, “One of the younger draft age prospects, he displays high-end hockey sense, a 200-foot, three-zone game, and a good release.”
This is a raw prospect, as mentioned, but one that could be worth taking a chance on in the fourth round. Many project that he will be selected anywhere from the fourth to the sixth round, but he’s been rising a little bit recently on boards. He notably jumped 34 spots in the CS rankings from mid-term to final.
5. F Gunnarwolfe Fontaine (Chicago Steel, USHL)
CS Ranking: 211 (NA) / THW Ranking: 131
This may be a reach, putting him on the fourth round target list rather than the fifth, but this is a prospect I really like. I don’t just like him because of his name, which is excellent by the way. Gunnarwolfe Fontaine can play, his size may scare some away, especially since he doesn’t have “top-end” skill.
Fontaine is an overager, he went undrafted in the 2019 draft, but should be taken off the board this year. He has unknown draft stock for sure though, as some have him going undrafted again, while some have him anywhere from the fourth to the seventh.
He plays with a chip on his shoulder, wants to be a winner, and is motivated to do so. He produced fairly well with the Chicago Steel in 2019-20, with 26 goals and 31 assists for 57 points in 45 games.
Some could view him as a reach with the 123rd pick, but I would like the pick for the Blues. He’s a player that can develop into being a solid goal scorer in the NHL at his best. His size will scare some away, but it probably shouldn’t, in the fourth round.
Overall, the Blues will still have a plethora of options in the fourth round, but it will depend on what they have done so far. There’s lots of variety of this list, big defensemen, undersized forwards, and large forwards. I would be estactic with any of the five on this list being taken by St. Louis.