St. Cloud, MN – The St. Louis Junior Blues announced via twitter on July 28 that 15 year-old left shooting defenseman, John Opilka (Effingham, IL) has made a commitment to play hockey at St. Cloud State University. The Blues announced “Congratulations to U16 AAA Blues defensemen
@pilks_7 on his commitment to St.Cloud State hockey”. The 6’1″ 190 Opilka skated for the Junior Blues during the 2017-18 season playing in 55 games and compiling 4 goals and 8 assists for 12 points. In July, he was invited to the Select 16 USA Hockey Development Camp in Buffalo, NY among 180 of the top players in his age group in the USA.
Neutral Zone, a prominent scouting and ranking service described Opilka as “tall and strong and has improved his mobility. He got to the point of attack well with his combined long, strong stride and active stick. His poke check well while defending the rush and showed a strong stick to win pucks and protect with possession. Stayed in smart spots to defend and very seldom gave opponents an advantage towards his net. Made a good first pass and got pucks up and deep. Not exciting with possession but smart and consistent. His skating still has room to improve and the late 2002 has lots of upside. Interesting player who has and should continue to improve the next few years. Made the all star game and played well at that event.”
Opilka comes from a successful hockey family as his brother Luke, a goaltender, was a St. Louis Blues draft choice and is currently with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. His other brother Tyler is playing ACHA hockey for the University of Illinois.
Still considered a project as a late 2002 birth date, Opilka has several years of development ahead of him. In May he was selected 25th in the 2nd round of the USHL Phase 1 draft by the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League. He was also a selection of Saginaw in the OHL draft in April.
Opilka could hit campus in St. Cloud by the 2020-21 or 2021-22 season.