The St. Louis Blues’ 2020-21 season had its highs and lows but ultimately ended in disappointment after the team fell in four games to the Colorado Avalanche in Round 1. In this series, we’ll look back on the season, player by player, and evaluate each one’s individual performance with an eye towards their future with the team.
Blues’ general manager Doug Armstrong’s biggest splash in free agency last offseason was signing defenceman Torey Krug to a 7-year deal worth $45.5 million. After a tremendous 49-point season with the Boston Bruins, adding Krug was a fantastic move to bolster the team’s blue line with a consistent offensive defenceman, who could fill the hole left by former captain Alex Pietrangelo.
Krug gave the Blues a tempo-pushing player who could generate a spark for their stagnant offence. He was crucial to the Blues’ success this season and cemented himself as the team’s best blueliner.
What Went Right: Offensive Leader
Krug’s ability to handle the puck and make plays was a massive boost for the Blues this season, and he was a great fit with the team’s system, with his fast-paced game and ability to mix it up physically in the defensive zone. He has a team-first mentality and can find the open man for terrific outlet passes or move the puck up ice to take attention away from his teammates so they can position themselves for a high-danger shot on net.
One of the top assist-getters on the Blues this season, Krug registered the second most on the team with 32 (tied with Ryan O’Reilly). His ability to move the puck effectively and efficiently is also showcased in his plus-minus, registering a plus-11, the third highest mark of his career.
Krug was a shot of adrenaline to the lineup and became a leader on and off the ice. His insatiable appetite for success helped foster a winning culture in the locker room. This season, he was a difference-maker in all aspects of the game, but his offensive production was his most valuable asset.
What Went Wrong: Lowered Production in St. Louis
While still having a terrific year offensively, Krug’s numbers dipped this year compared to his previous seasons in Boston. He put up a serviceable 32 points in 51 games, but when compared to his production last season with the Bruins (49 points in 61 games), his numbers took a noticeable hit.
While his offensive production was still solid for the Blues, Krug put up his lowest numbers since the 2015-16 season in which he had 44 points in 81 games played. His penalty minutes also increased to 25, on pace to go well above his career average of 30 PIM. This also came along with a decreased output on the power-play unit, with 15 less points generated on the man advantage when compared to last season.
It’s possible his supporting cast in St. Louis caused his dip in production, especially after playing on such an offensively strong team in Boston. Another factor could be his age, as the 30-year-old blue-liner might be moving past his prime.
- 30 assists (tied for second on the Blues)
- plus-11 plus/minus (tied for third on the Blues)
- 22:32 average time on ice (second on the Blues)
Final Grade: A-
He may not have lived up to expectations this season, but Krug was an integral member of the Blues. Without his offensive contributions, the Blues would have continued to struggle to hit the scoresheet and might have missed the playoffs.
With a final grade of A-, Krug had a great season, even if we want to see more from him. He has shown he has the potential to explode but seemed to be going through a feeling-out process with his new club for most of the season. However, there is a chance he could elevate his game to what it was with the Bruins and push the Blues back into contention.
What’s Next for Krug?
With six years remaining on his contract, expect Krug to be part of the Blues moving forward. He has the ability to make a positive impact and will look to continue doing so for the remainder of his contract.
Blues’ fans hope Krug can take his game to the next level next season and play up to his $45.5 million price tag. This offseason will be crucial for management to determine the team’s future, but either way, Krug will be a major part of the team long-term.
Originally from Owen Sound, Ontario, Matt Eichhorn has spent the past 4 years studying the field of Sport Media at Ryerson University. Eichhorn is a life-long hockey fan with experience working in a variety of media roles around the game. Currently, Eichhorn covers the St. Louis Blues for The Hockey Writers.