As the hockey season continues its long march towards spring and league playoffs, let’s take a look at some of the St. Louis Jr. Blues’ former players playing in other leagues, whether it be higher-level juniors, college, or the pros.
- In the NAHL, Bud Winter has scored four goals and five assists in 31 games played, 8 with Corpus Christi and 23 with Brookings. Trevor Wilhelm also began the season with the IceRays and Winter, but has since moved to the Lone Star Brahmas, where he scored in his first weekend and has played in six games. Finally, Mark Capkovic has made his presence felt on the Shreveport Mudbugs blue-line with one assist in 18 games played.
- At the NCAA level, a trio of Jr. Blues alumni duos are standing out at the Division III level: Sam Maddox (4 G, 5 A) and Ryan Edgar (1 G, 1 A) at SUNY-Buffalo State, Andy McGlynn (2 G, 7 A) and Johnny Mueller (2 G, 8 A) at UW-Eau Claire, and finally Jack Hatton (5 G, 3 A) and Kyle Meeh (3 G, 3 A) at St. Mary’s. Elsewhere in D-III, Daniil Ovchinnikov has three assists in 12 games at SUNY-Plattsburgh, Andrew Froese has scored twice and assisted on two goals on the blue-line at Finlandia, Jake Cox’s scoring touch has followed him to Southern New Hampshire where he has found the back of the net five times to go along with nine assists, and in his senior year at Lake Forest Cody Guidorzi has five goals and five assists.
- In NCAA Division I, Frankie Melton’s freshman season at Ferris State has been a productive one, with three goals and six assists in 17 games for the Bulldogs. Adam Roeder has yet to find the back of the net for Northern Michigan this year, but does have two assists in 19 games. Finally, Trey Dodd has one goal and three assists in 9 games for Brown.
- Blues alums are also making a big impact at some of the nation’s top ACHA club programs. Nowhere is this more apparent than at #1-ranked Lindenwood, where Zach Mitchell has emerged as a massive scoring threat, with 18 goals and 9 assists in 16 games. His teammate Tommy Heinzman is no slouch either, with 26 assists to go along with five goals. Special mention should be given to Mike Lozano as well: after playing four excellent seasons for the Lions, he has moved behind the bench as a graduate assistant coach. Other performances of note in ACHA Division I include Bayley Marshall with 17 goals and 26 assists split between Arizona and Central Oklahoma, his Wildcats teammates Ben Jones (22 GP, 4 G, 13 A) and Matt Hohl (20 GP, 1 G, 4 A), the large Jr. Blues contingent at Missouri State led by club captain Chris Brown and including Andrew Kovacich (14 G, 11 A) and Zane O’Bryan (10 G, 10 A), and Joe Nolan continuing his great performances at Illinois, where he has three goals and 10 assists.
- Moving on to professional alums, we begin with arguably the most famous Jr. Blues alumnus in Paul Stastny, who signed a new 3-year/$6.5m AAV contract with Vegas over the summer only to suffer an injury in the third game of the year that put him on the sidelines for a total of 30 games. He has since returned to the lineup and has five goals and six assists in 16 games, adding much-needed scoring depth as the Golden Knights look to mount a playoff push. Nick Saracino has seen his career given a jump-start for the Wheeling Nailers in the ECHL: he has 37 points (17 G, 20 A) for Pittsburgh’s ECHL affiliate, and was recently given a promotion to Binghamton of the AHL, where he has dressed in seven games for New Jersey’s top farm club. Finally, Joe Vitale is making waves in the NHL not as a player but as a broadcaster: he took over as analyst on radio broadcasts for the St. Louis Blues this season, and has been an impressive addition to the KMOX team.
- Finally, three former Jr. Blues are playing professional hockey in Europe. Travis Turnbull has become a familiar fixture in the DEL, Germany’s top league: he has scored four goals and six assists in 29 games this year for Iserlohn Roosters, his fourth club in the Bundesliga. Mike Davies had previously played his last four seasons in Germany but this year joined Black Wings Linz in the Erste Bank League, which is based in Austria but also includes clubs from Hungary, Croatia, Italy and Czechia. In 23 games this year for Linz, Davies has 7 goals and 10 assists. Finally, after a stellar career at Lindenwood Alexander Carlsson returned to his native Sweden and signed a contract with Nyköping Gripen in Hockeyettan, the third tier of Swedish pro hockey: he’s played 11 games and scored one goal.