The St. Louis Blues’ 2021-22 season represented a major transition for the franchise. No longer a stout defensive team built from the blue line out, they finished second in the NHL in goals scored, with nine forwards recording 20-plus goals. Though the season came to an end in a six-game defeat by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round, there are plenty of highs and lows to reflect on. In this series, we’ll evaluate each player who played 10 or more games with the team (as well as the head coach and general manager), grading their individual performance and looking at their future with the team.
The St. Louis Blues had a grinding fourth line in their Stanley Cup win of 2019, and Oskar Sundqvist was a major part of it. He dealt with a torn ACL suffered during the 2020-21 season, but he was able to return to the ice this season for the Blues.
Expectations weren’t all that high for him coming off of that injury, but it was a weird season for him regardless. A lot happened for Sundqvist in 2021-22, and it wasn’t all expected.
What Went Right: Back on the Ice
After playing 28 games during the 2021-22 season, Sundqvist suffered a torn ACL. Prior to the injury, he had nine points and was struggling with a minus-6 rating. He didn’t look like himself before the injury and that carried over after the injury.
In the 2021-22 season, Sundqvist played 41 games for the Blues with 15 points and a plus-4 rating. The numbers aren’t bad, but he didn’t look like his former self in this stretch. Part of this could be the issues with his linemates, which means that he didn’t get to play with Ivan Barbashev. He and Barbashev had incredible chemistry on the ice, and it didn’t happen this season, a lot of that is the leap from Barbashev in a 26-goal season. But it was great to see Sundqvist return to the ice after a tough injury.
What Went Wrong: Traded to Detroit
The Blues traded Sundqvist, along with Jake Walman and a 2023 second-round pick, to the Detroit Red Wings for Nick Leddy. It seemed like a change of scenery was needed for Sundqvist with the injury and depth that had taken over for the Blues.
In 18 games for the Red Wings, he had four goals and four assists for eight points. He seems like a solid fit for what Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman wants with the team. He’s now playing for a rebuilding team that is on the rise, and he’s a perfect bottom-six forward for that team.
I don’t think we have necessarily seen the last of Sundqvist with the Blues. He clearly has a great relationship with the franchise, which was on display when he attended a Blues playoff game this season during his own offseason. He was a fan favorite with the Blues, and it would be great to see him return to the team eventually.
- 20.0 shooting percentage in 18 games with the Red Wings
- 0.39 points per game, third-best of his career
Final Grade: B
He may not have looked like himself, but he played well given the circumstances coming off of the injury. It’s hard to blame the Blues for moving on, but I still believe he could be a tremendous asset to the Blues’ fourth line. I hope that Sundqvist finds his game in Detroit and has an even more successful NHL career.
What’s Next for Sundqvist?
He has one more season left on a four-year contract that he signed with the Blues in 2019. His current cap hit is $2.75 million, and as I said earlier, his fit with the Red Wings is quite good. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Red Wings try to extend him at some point soon.
I have been covering sports for nearly a decade. I started with FanSided as a Baseball Contributor. Now I am writing about the NHL and the St. Louis Blues for The Hockey Writers. I grew up in Central Illinois as a huge fan of every sport. Finally, I do various podcasting across all major platforms.