Looking back this past summer which seems like a lifetime ago there was talk amongst the Blues fan base of a massive defensive shakeup for the Blues. A number of names were thrown around in an attempt to dump the Jay Bouwmeester contract. Whether it was Vince Dunn, Jordan Schmaltz, or Jake Walman, fans just wanted change. Bringing things back to the present, the massive shakeup of course didn’t quite happen and Bouwmeester is still with the club. But that doesn’t mean good things aren’t happening at the minor league level, Walman is growing more into his game each and every day.
Having played seven games for the Chicago Wolves last season he was thrown into their exciting playoff run that came to a screeching halt in the second round. They fell to the eventual Calder Cup Champions the Grand Rapids Griffins.
This being Walman’s first full season as a pro the jump from college hockey to playing against men is a massive one. The 21 year old played three years for Providence College finishing off his final year with the Friars with 25 points in 39 games. He also wore the “A” on his chest that last season.
Let me give you a quick breakdown of what you can expect from Walman on any given game, well when things are going right. He falls in line with the makeup of the future of the defensive position, a solid puck moving defenseman who has a flair for pushing the offensive play. Also worth mentioning that he has one bomb of a shot. Currently Walman only has two goals to his name but with 11 assists and a staggering 92 credited shots on net, it’s clear where his strengths lie.
The 2014 third round pick is ranked second on the Chicago Wolves for defenseman in total points though that is likely due to the fact that Shea Theodore is now with the Vegas Golden Knights.
If offense is Walman’s strength then tightening up in the defensive areas is where things are still a bit murky. Which shouldn’t shock anyone. At just 21 most players on the back end are still a year or two away from having a complete 200 ft game. Sure there are examples you can find where players don’t fit that timeline but the vast majority need the seasoning.
The Blues defensive pool is a deep one and while some of these prospects may be traded for more fire power on the wing, Jake Walman is quietly growing into his game in the AHL. If his future home includes wearing the Blue Note at some point, Colton Parayko won’t be the only threat on the point.