Continuing our look at former Jr. Blues who have made their mark at higher levels of hockey, today we focus on another forward in Frankie Melton.
Originally from Imperial, Mo., just south of St. Louis, Melton joined the Jr. Blues in 2014 after successful stints with the Affton Americans and St. Louis AAA Blues. He made an instant impact with the Jr. Blues, scoring 16 goals with 9 assists in just 20 games. His rapid success caught the eye of the Corpus Christi IceRays of the NAHL, who picked up the then-17 year old as a mid-season call-up. Melton would score in his first NAHL game, but as time went on he found the Tier II game to be a tough ask, finishing the year with four goals and as many assists in 24 games played.
Melton would return to St. Louis to start the 2015-16 season and once again he would light up the scoring charts, potting 37 goals in 32 games to go along with 18 assists. Once again, this made NAHL teams take notice, with the Bismarck Bobcats eventually offering him a promotion in January of that year. Playing in a more energy-focused role in North Dakota, Frankie scored three goals with two assists in 16 regular-season contests, while playing 10 games in the Bobcats’ run to the Robertson Cup playoffs.
Frankie left the Bobcats during the 2016 offseason, and for a time looked as if he would not have a hockey home for the 2016-17 campaign. However, the Shreveport Mudbugs were looking for a top-six forward for their inaugural NAHL season, and head coach Karlis Zirnis knew of Melton’s talent from his days in charge of the Nashville Jr. Predators. Invited to the Mudbugs’ main camp, Frankie made the squad to start the season and went on to post a banner year in a Mudbugs uniform. He led the league in goals with 35, added 23 assists as well, and was named to the South Division team for the 2017 Top Prospects Tournament. When the season ended, Melton picked up a treasure-trove of awards, including South Division Player of the Year and selection to the All-South Division and All-NAHL First Teams. However, his biggest achievement came later this spring, when he signed a letter of intent to play college hockey at Ferris State, a storied WCHA program that has produced many professional alumni, most notably multiple Stanley Cup winner Chris Kunitz.
“”Frankie is another player I’ve seen grow from young age through the Affton Hockey program,” said Jr. Blues coach Chris Flaugher. “Frankie was another first year midget playing U18 along with Andy McGlynn on a team I coached in the past. He spent parts of two seasons with our junior program and paved his way to a NCAA Division I opportunity with Ferris State. To be able to witness Frankie turn from a young, talented junior prospect into a mature, college-bound NCAA Division I athlete is one of the best joys a coach can have. I’m proud to say that Frankie joins the long list of successful players that benefited from the St. Louis Jr. Blues program.”