This week The Journey looks at Blues hopeful Dmitrij Jaskin, former Montreal first rounder Louis Leblanc and Penguin prospect Beau Bennett.
Rights: St. Louis Blues
Drafted in the 2nd round (41st overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
RW/LW, 6'2", 196 lbs
Hometown: Omsk, Russia
Jaskin is a good mix of size, skill, grit and determination. He is a powerhouse who can protect the puck exceptionally well and won't bend to the physical side of the game. In his draft year he played for the Czech Republic at the under-18 WJHC and was stellar scoring four goals and adding an assist in six games. When Jaskin was drafted he spent another year in the Czech league before making the jump to North America. He once again joined the Czech Republic, this time for the under-20 WJHC and managed a goal and an assist for the eventual fifth place squad.
He had showed enough potential for Moncton to draft him 12th overall in the first round of the CHL import draft and he would join them for the 2012-13 season scoring 46 goals and 99 points in 51 games. He missed a few games mid-season as he joined the Czechs for the WJHC where he scored three goals and six points in six games. Despite missing time for the World Junior's he still ranked among the top players in the league and at one time rolled off a streak of 14 points in five games.
After finishing the season ranked fifth in League points, fifth in power play points and third in shots, Jaskin signed an entry level contract with the Blues and joined them for two games. He was held off the score-sheet but gained a sense for the league as he stayed with the team (although not appearing in any games) through their first round playoff series against the LA Kings.
This past season Jaskin suffered from injury woes early on but still powered his way to 29 points in 42 games for the AHL's Chicago Wolves. Jaskin was called up to the big club on a few occasions and ended with two NHL points including his first NHL goal.
Jaskin could easily crack the Blues lineup out of camp this year and if he does he'll be on fantasy radars before long. With his size and willingness to go to the net he can be an effective player on either of the top two lines or in a bottom six role. When you figure in his skill level I feel Jaskin is more suited in the top six and a good camp would go a long way to landing him there. Jaskin's grit and physicality also make him attractive in the hits and penalty minute categories so this is a guy you should watch close if you are looking for some new blood in your league.
For more information on Jaskin head over to DobberProspects.com