3 Blues Quietly Having Good Seasons

There’s no question that the St. Louis Blues are not having the season they hoped to. Certainly, general manager Doug Armstrong did not plan to be speaking about a rebuild just weeks into the season. Though they are currently riding a three-game winning streak, it’s difficult to have confidence that they have truly turned things around. And in a season that isn’t going well, it is easy to pick out players to blame and criticize.

It’s considerably harder to identify players who have met or exceeded expectations, but that’s what we’ll look to do in this article. These three players are not getting enough credit for their performances so far this season, and with plenty of negativity flying around the St. Louis hockey scene of late, they deserve a little credit for performing admirably in trying circumstances.

1) Thomas Greiss

Armstrong really scraped the bottom of the free agent barrel by signing Thomas Greiss, a 37-year-old goaltender coming off one of the worst campaigns of his career with the Detroit Red Wings. Plenty of ink was spilled in the preseason debating what role Greiss could be expected to play and whether the team made a mistake not getting a more reliable backup for Jordan Binnington, who lost his starting job to Ville Husso during the regular season last season (before Husso signed with the Red Wings in free agency). While questions about Binnington remain to be answered, Greiss has justified Armstrong’s decision to sign him so far this season.

Thomas Greiss St. Louis Blues
Thomas Greiss, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Now, let’s be clear: Greiss has not been a superstar. But he has more than fulfilled his duty as a backup goaltender making $1.25 million this season. He has a .906 save percentage (SV%), which is slightly above league average (.905) this season. He has 0.1 goals saved above average (GSAA) — again, not spectacular, but passable. Binnington has struggled, and his antics have dominated the headlines. Meanwhile, Greiss has quietly done his job fairly well in the eight opportunities he’s been given.

2) Calle Rosén

Calle Rosén has been fighting for a consistent opportunity for years, and it seems like he has finally found one in St. Louis. He did enough last season — playing a total of 79 games between the NHL and AHL in the regular season and postseason — to earn a two-year contract extension from the organization. And he has been paying off that confidence so far, playing 17 games and spending the entire season with the NHL team.

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Rosén has six points, with two goals (including one scored in front of his mom on the team’s mother’s trip) in his 17 games. More importantly, his metrics grade out well across the board, an extreme rarity for the Blues. In a defensive group that has fallen apart much of the season, including a stretch of nine games without allowing fewer than four goals, Rosén stands out as one of the few bright spots. He deserves more playing in the near future.

3) Brayden Schenn

Beyond just having a solid season, Brayden Schenn has been quietly having a great career since arriving in St. Louis in a shock trade with the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2017 NHL Draft. A pillar of consistency, he has rarely struggled to make an impact, becoming the team’s top player in his first season with the Blues, as well as a major contributor to the Stanley Cup run. Plenty of questions have been asked about the eight-year, $52 million contract extension Armstrong signed Schenn to in October of 2019, but the 31-year-old has remained a big piece of the Blues’ core since putting pen to paper.

Brayden Schenn St. Louis Blues
Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

So far this season, Schenn has seven goals and 24 points in 31 games, trailing only wunderkinds Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou. Sure, he’s a minus-11 overall, but few players on the Blues are positive right now. Schenn’s metrics aren’t spectacular, but he seems to be continually improving and is especially hot right now, with nine points in his last seven games. Schenn’s contract may become an issue years down the line, but right now, he’s the least of the team’s worries, and he probably isn’t acknowledged enough for how much he does for the franchise on the ice.

Stars Need to Step Up

These three players are having strong seasons so far. If it was up to them, the Blues might not be in the position they are. Right now, the stars are underperforming on this team. Players like Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly, and Binnington need to step up and play as well as the likes of Schenn, Greiss, and Rosén. If they do, the Blues have plenty of time to right the ship.