Saturday, September 25, 2021

(9-25-21) Wild-Blues Preseason Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues will drop the puck on the 2021-22 season, in preseason fashion, today when they open the exhibition schedule against the Minnesota Wild at 7 p.m. at Enterprise Center (Bally Sports App, ESPN 101.1-FM).

There will be a mix of veterans and younger prospects making their season debuts tonight, including 2020 first-round pick Jake Neighbours, who will be featured on a line with veterans Tyler Bozak and professional tryout candidate James Neal.

"Super excited," Neighbours said. "I think obviously a lot of emotions, a lot of nerves. Obviously not getting the chance to play last year, I'm super excited to get out there with the guys tonight and get to play in my first one. It'll be fun.

"I'm looking to go out there and do what I can and try and play my game and try and be ready for whatever situation they put me in. I'll be ready for the power play obviously. I'll be thankful I'll get to do that tonight and whatever else they throw at me."

It will also be the debut of defenseman Scott Perunovich (2018 second-round pick), who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury but since there were no preseason games last season, he wouldn't have had the chance to play anyway, and defenseman Tyson Galloway, a 2021 fifth-round pick.

"They're excited for sure," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "Like a lot of guys are. I think these guys have done a good job in camp so far, they've had a good development camp, real good at Traverse City, I thought. I'm hoping they keep it going. They're good players and they're young guys, future for us. They're turning heads already, which is a good sign."

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* BREAKING NEWS -- The Blues announced a trade prior to their game against the Wild, sending forward Zach Sanford to the Ottawa Senators for Logan Brown and a conditional 2022 fourth-round draft pick.

Brown was raised in St. Louis and was the 11th pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and is the son of former Blues defenseman Jeff Brown, who played here from 1989-1994.

Logan Brown, 23, is 6-foot-6 and 218 pounds. The center iceman has played in 30 NHL games and has nine points (one goal, eight assists). 

He just signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Senators on Sept. 18 for $750,000 NHL/$100,000 AHL.

Sanford, 26, has spent four of his five NHL seasons with the Blues. Last season, the 6-4, 207-pound forward scored 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in 52 regular-season games. 

Overall, Sanford played in 209 regular-season games and scored 74 points (38 goals, 36 assists) with the Blues. He was acquired along with veteran forward Brad Malone, a first-round pick in 2017 and conditional draft picks from the Washington Capitals for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and minor league goalie Pheonix Copley.

Sanford's career with the Blues has been up and down throughout his tenure. He showed flashes of why the Blues acquired him and had his best season in 2019-20 when he scored 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists) in 58 games.

The conditions on the draft pick the Senators are sending to the Blues is it reverts back to Ottawa if Brown plays in 30 or more games in the NHL this season.

With Sanford's contract off the books, the Blues save $2 million in cap space and according to, they are $731,131 under the $81.5 million limit, which includes 22 players on the roster.

The Blues do have Neal and Michael Frolik in on PTO's and could sign one to a league minimum contract, if one or both impress in training camp.

The Blues could also use Oskar Sundqvist's cap hit of $2.75 million since the center will likely go on long-term injured-reserve to continue rehabbing from an ACL injury sustained last season meaning Sundqvist will miss 10 games or 24 days before a decision would be made in that case.


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The Blues will feature one of their top lines, which includes newcomer Brandon Saad, Robert Thomas and Vladimir Tarasenko, a line Berube has looked at extensively through the first three days of training camp and wants to see in game action.

"They're talking too," Berube said. "I read notes and stuff, you (media) guys are asking them questions and they feel like they're pretty connected already and making some plays and starting to read off each other, so that's good. We'll see how it goes in the games."

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Along with Neal, Frolik, also signed as a PTO, will get a look tonight. 

Neal, 34, most recently played with the Edmonton Oilers last season, while Frolik, 33, played sparingly with the Montreal Canadiens last season.

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Goalies Ville Husso and Charlie Lindgren, who the Blues signed for depth this past off-season from the Canadiens organization, will split tonight's game, with Husso getting two periods and Lindgren, who spent last season with the Laval Rocket of the American Hockey League, will get one period.

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Brandon Saad-Robert Thomas-Vladimir Tarasenko

Klim Kostin-Ivan Barbashev-Michael Frolik

Jake Neighbours-Tyler Bozak-James Neal

Kyle Clifford-Dakota Joshua-Alexei Toropchenko

Jake Walman-Colton Parayko

Scott Perunovich-Robert Bortuzzo

Tyson Galloway-Steven Santini

Ville Husso will start in goal and play two periods; Charlie Lindgren will be the backup and play the third period.

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The Wild's projected roster:

Nico Sturm, Jordie Benn, Matt Boldy, Jordan Greenway, Marco Rossi, Nick Bjugstad, Dominic Turgeon, Joe Hicketts, Ryan O'Rourke, Daemon Hunt, Victor Rask, Adam Beckman, Joseph Cramarossa, Dakota Mermis, Calen Addison, Damien Giroux, Carson Lambos, Pavel Novak, Will Bitten, Kaapo Kahkonen and Andrew Hammond

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