The Journey: Critical Depth Performers (Toropchenko, Bouchard, Dube, Dellandrea)

Benjamin Gehrels

2022-05-21

Welcome back to The Journey, where we follow hockey prospects and their paths to the NHL, providing fantasy predictions and analysis along the way. This week, we'll highlight a few depth players who are providing important secondary scoring and other contributions for their teams so far in Round 2 of the 2022 playoffs.

(Stats do not include Saturday’s games.)

The Blues' depth is a critical factor allowing them to keep pace with the Avalanche so far in Round Two. They're playing Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko on the third line, and all four lines are contributing. If you've been watching St. Louis in this year's playoffs, you've likely noticed a skilled, big-bodied presence impacting the game from the fourth line. He is 6-3, over 200 lbs, and was drafted by the Blues in 2017 but it's not Klim Kostin (31st overall)—it's Alexei Toropchenko (113th overall).

Toropchenko is a big, physical player who has soft hands and the ability to dangle in tight. How many people had ever heard his name before he roared in against Minnesota and deked out Mats Zuccarello to set up this Tyler Bozak rebound goal?

Apparently, this is a move Toropchenko been practicing since his OHL days with the Guelph Storm: