After sending them down yesterday to submit a cap-compliant opening night roster, the St. Louis Blues have recalled forwards Josh Leivo and Jake Neighbours ahead of the team’s season opener on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Neighbours is attempting to stick in the NHL full-time this season after receiving a nine-game trial in 2021-22. One of the team’s best prospects, the 20-year-old Neighbours can be a dominant power forward at times and is coming off a Memorial Cup appearance with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. Neighbours will now be able to be sent to the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds if he can’t stick in the NHL, rather than having to return to junior hockey. He’s slated to make his season debut along with the rest of the team on Saturday, likely playing alongside Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev.
Leivo is also expected to play Saturday as Logan Brown is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. A new addition to the Blues organization, Leivo had three points in seven games last season with the Carolina Hurricanes and was dominant in the playoffs with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves en route to a Calder Cup championship, scoring 29 points in just 18 games. With over 200 games of NHL experience, Leivo is a fine fill-in on the team’s fourth line and could make a case for himself to stay up with the team longer-term, albeit if it’s just as a healthy scratch. It wouldn’t be a new experience for him, infamously playing just 16 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2017-18 under then-head coach Mike Babcock despite being healthy and on the active roster virtually all season long.