St. Louis sends Toronto Maple Leafs a 4th round draft pick for 2019. What do they receive? 24-year-old, Nikita Soshnikov.
Nikita Soshnikov is a bottom six forward. While on injured reserve as of now, it’s been stated that once he gets his US visa and clears doctor approval he will play for the Blues active roster. This leads many to believe that another move will be made before the deadline. That just seems to add up. These next ten days should be interesting, but let’s focus on the move at hand.
Fit for the 4th line
Soshnikov is 5’11 and 190 lbs. He plays the right wing and could be a fit for Kyle Brodziak and Scottie Upshall. The Nizhny Tagil, Russia native has only played 70 NHL games so far but hasn’t received many opportunities in Toronto. We didn’t acquire him for a scoring role but Nikita has a good shot. Here is a video of him sniping his first career NHL Goal.
While he doesn’t have many of them (7 in his short career), he could really benefit from playing with Upshall and Brodziak who have been outstanding together. There’s always been the question of who should play the right wing on that 4th line. I think this is an attempt to solidify that unit.
With the Atlant Moscow Oblast in 2014-15, Soshnikov scored 14 goals and tallied 18 assists for 32 points in 57 games. In his 2016-17 NHL season with the Maple Leafs, he registered 9 points in 56 games (5 goals, 4 assists). He didn’t play but 3 NHL games in 2017-18.
Expect more before the deadline
It’s been suggested to me that I should expect a bottom-six forward to be traded away. Maybe even someone from the top six. Do I believe it? Yes. I think that the Blues just sent a message that they’re going to be active now. I’m just like everyone else. I don’t want to see the kids go, but when you have a bite, you reel it in.
With the competition in the central division being as tough as it is, the Blues’ push is dependent on making the right move, right now. I think we see one more move made to solidify the top six. The Blues still need a little bit of help in the scoring department.
If you’re a Blues fan, now you know that General Manager, Doug Armstrong isn’t just sitting back with his legs propped up. His job has been a bit complicated recently due to the two separate identities of this Blues team. Ultimately, his goal is to bring a cup to St. Louis and he’s got the assets to make it happen. Just a few improvements to the roster could send the team soaring.
This trade for Soshnikov might not make sense right now, but we will see what the moves look like as a whole at the deadline. It’s a process, and not every trade is going to be a blockbuster. Sometimes, you have to go with your gut. I think Nikita Soshnikov has some potential. He’s young and has a lot of hockey ahead of him. St. Louis will certainly put him in position to succeed in the NHL.