Everyone has been waiting to see what the Blues first trade would be, if they were going to make a move at all. Enter Nikita Soshnikov, a player when healthy is a fairly effective player. The Blues only gave up a fourth round pick in 2019 draft which they could easily gain that lost pick back at some point down the road.
So what do we know about Sosnikov? The Russian forward has proven the ability to chip in goals, mainly at the AHL/KHL levels at this point. His last season in the KHL, 2014-15 Sosnikov put up 32 points in 57 games. Bringing this back to North America the 24 year old has mainly played for the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs affiliate. Having racked up 48 points in 77 games for the Marlies the past few seasons is worth noting but at the same time he was on a strong team. Especially when the likes of WIlliam Nylander, Josh Leivo, and Connor Brown were in the lineup.
Health has been an issue for Soshnikov and that is part of the reason why he struggled to break into the Leafs lineup. Having just played three games in the NHL this year and 19 for the Marlies, both sides were looking to make a move. But that doesn’t mean he can’t chip in for the Blues in a bottom six role. The latter half of the lineup is becoming ever more important.
Sosnikov is a player who just needs to be given an opportunity. The Blues are in a position where they want to stay in the playoff hunt but at the same time are starting to transition to being a much younger club. So why not take a chance on another young player? Cap wise he isn’t very taxing, having a hit of 736,666. Soshnikov is also an RFA this summer and won’t command much in terms of money which gives the Blues time to see what they have in the Russian. At the end of the day this a smart little move by the Blues. The risk is low and isn’t going to set the team back in terms of money. Many refuse to accept that the Blues aren’t all that far off from considering a “rebuild phase” but the fact the team continues to add more young players to their lineup, it sure looks like the Blues are prepping for it. Sosnikov has shown flashes of being able to “hang” in the NHL so lets see how this story pans out.