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Prospecting for Blues

Blues prospect Nikita Alexandrov (32) handles the puck during the prospect scrimmage on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at the Blues Prospect Camp in the Enterprise Center. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Blues lost one of their more promising prospects to injury in Tuesday’s fifth-place game at the NHL Prospect Tournament.

Nikita Alexandrov, the team’s top pick in the 2019 draft in June, absorbed a hit in the corner late in the second period of the team’s 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers at Centre Ice Arena.

“More of an upper-body injury, I think,” Blues prospect coach Drew Bannister said. “I don’t know exactly, but I don’t think it’s too, too bad.”

Alexandrov, who will undergo additional evaluation back in St. Louis, had his right arm in a sling after the game.

Slated to play junior hockey once again this season, Alexandrov’s status for Blues training camp — which starts this weekend — is now uncertain.

Alexandrov, chosen in the second round (No. 62 overall), had a goal and an assist for the tournament. The goal came Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks, sparking the Blues to a 4-2 comeback win for their only win in the tournament.

“Each game, he’s gotten better,” Bannister said following the Chicago game. “I think after the goal he scored, I could see a little bit more jump and a little bit more confidence in his game. Slowly he’s getting better — not that you expect a young kid to come in and dominate in this tournament.”

ACTION JACKSON

One of the few bright spots in the Blues’ first two games — losses to Toronto and Detroit — was the play of forward Robby Jackson. The St. Cloud State University product, who attended this tournament as a free agent invite, had a goal in both games.

After he completed his college campaign last season, Jackson was signed on an amateur tryout basis with the San Antonio Rampage and played in three games for the Blues’ American Hockey League affiliate. He scored a goal in the first of those games, against the Texas Stars.

Jackson is hoping to return to San Antonio on a full-time basis this season, but nothing is guaranteed.

“He’s gotta earn it,” said Bannister, the head coach of the Rampage. “A lot of guys are gonna have to go down there and earn it. We’ve had a big overhaul down there with our veterans and we’re getting a lot younger, too. That was the one thing that we wanted to do is get a little bit younger. A little bit quicker.”

Jackson enjoyed a lot of team success at St. Cloud State, winning a conference regular-season title twice and the conference tournament championship once.

“It’s the best four years of my life,” Jackson said. “I’m kinda proud of the work we did as a team. Last year we didn’t lose a single game at home.”

Now, he’s trying to make another team after playing for the Blues’ prospects squad.

“It was kind of surreal just putting that (Blues) jersey on for the first time,” Jackson said. “Just kind of knowing the pedigree of this organization, and kind of the reputation that you have to uphold and represent yourself with the utmost class, and effort and determination and work ethic. It comes along with wearing the Bluenote on your chest.”

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