Edmonton Oil Kings star Jake Neighbours has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the St. Louis Blues. The Club announced the signing Saturday afternoon.
Neighbours, an 18-year-old product of Airdrie, Alta., was selected in first round (26th overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft back on October 6.
“Obviously, I know the NHL is a jump for sure, and it’s a process,” Neighbours said in a Blues release. “This one step in it and we’ve just got to continue from here. I’m ready for whatever amount of work I need to put in or however long this is going to take because, at the end of the day, to pull over that Blues jersey will be insane and to play an NHL game with them would be absolutely crazy. I’m ready for whatever it takes.”
Neighbours emerged as a two-way force for the Central Division-winning Oil Kings in 2019-20, registering 70 points (23G-47A) in 64 games to finish second in Oil Kings scoring. Originally selected fourth overall in the 2017 WHL Draft, Neighbours has tallied 98 points (34G-64A) in 122 career WHL regular season games.
The 5-foot-11, 196-pound left winger represented the Oil Kings in Hamilton, Ont., at the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, where he hammered home his status as one of the next wave of elite talent to come from the WHL.
In 2019, Neighbours was a member of Canada’s silver-medal entry at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Prior to that, he captained Canada White at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, recording six points (3G-3A) in five contests.
Neighbours was one of seven WHL players selected in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft. In total, 28 WHL players heard their names called over the course of seven rounds from October 6 to 7.
Neighbours is the second 2020 NHL Draft selection from the WHL to sign an NHL entry-level contract, as his good friend Ozzy Wiesblatt of the Prince Albert Raiders signed with the San Jose Sharks on Friday, October 16.
With the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season slated to begin Friday, January 8, 2021, Neighbours is expected to be a valuable contributor to an Oil Kings squad that projects to be in the race for the WHL’s Central Division crown, should he not crack the Blues roster for the NHL campaign.