Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Prospects Kyrou, Thomas Tearing It Up in Juniors

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Prospects Kyrou, Thomas Tearing It Up in Juniors

Article excerpt

EDMONTON, ALBERTA * As the Blues made their roster cuts at the end of preseason, coach Mike Yeo told the players sent out that their goal should be to dominate whether they were being sent to the minor leagues or back to junior hockey.

At least two Blues prospects have taken those words to heart playing at the junior level in the Ontario Hockey League. Right winger Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting and center Robert Thomas of the London Knights are on a tear so far this season in the OHL.

Kyrou leads the OHL in points (42) and is third in goals (17) in 18 games with the Sting. That's 2.33 points a game for the 19-year-old, a second-round draft pick by the Blues in 2016.

Thomas is fourth in the OHL in goals (15) and has 25 points overall in 15 games with the Knights. That's 1.67 points a game for the 18-year-old, a first-round pick by the Blues last June.

"Kyrou's such a dynamic skater at the junior level," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "He creates time and space for himself.

"Really is sort of caught in that cusp of you might be better served in the American Hockey League, but the rules don't allow him to go there. So he's back playing very well in junior. Looking forward to watching him at the World Juniors this year."

As for Thomas, Armstrong said: "I thought he really opened up our eyes in Traverse City (at the NHL prospects tournament) to the potential he had. He touches every aspect of the (London) team. Power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5 play. Just really excited about his growth talking to some people we know in the OHL."

This time of year, Armstrong spends as much time out on the road scouting as he does with the Blues. He got a first-hand look at Thomas and Kyrou in mid-October during a scouting trip to Ontario.

"Yeah, I enjoy scouting," Armstrong said. "You can only do so much (in-season) when you're with the team, and you probably get a lot more done out watching games."

Kyrou, who plays right wing, attracted attention last season when he piled up 94 points in 66 games for the Sting. This season he's on a 150-point pace, obviously one that's unrealistic to maintain over the course of an entire campaign.

Among his highlights are a hat trick in an 8-2 win over North Bay on Oct. 19 and six points in a 7-5 win over the Peterborough Petes on Nov. 2. Those six points were the most in one game for a Sarnia player since 2013.

Meanwhile, Thomas can't wait for Dec. 28, the next time London plays Flint. He had a hat trick in a 9-0 victory over Flint on Nov. 10, and had four goals and two assists in an 8-2 win over Flint on Oct. 27.

Armstrong is equally proud of the fact that Kyrou and Thomas have been named team captains this season. So has Tanner Kaspick, 19, another Blues prospect who was at the Traverse City tournament and is now playing juniors for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League. …

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