Blues 2021-22 Report Cards: Ville Husso

The St. Louis Blues 2021-22 season represented a major transition for the franchise. No longer a stout defensive team built from the blueline 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.

Drafted by the St. Louis Blues 94th overall during the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Ville Husso made a name for himself last season. After achieving success on the international stage in Finland, he has only begun his journey to becoming a top goaltender in the NHL.

What Went Right: Husso’s Regular Season

From backup to starter to one of the top goaltenders in the NHL, Husso surprised everyone last season. After a 9-6-1 record to start his NHL career, the bar seemed to be lowered for a franchise that had many questions about their starting goaltenders. While fellow netminder Jordan Binnington continued to struggle through parts of the regular season, Husso rose to the challenge and solidified himself as the team’s starter. They found consistency and reliability in net through the 27-year-old and fed off of timely saves that oftentimes provided a spark that kept the Blues within striking distance of a lead late or the ability to tie the game. He finished the season with a 25-7-6 record, a 2.56 goals-against average (GAA), and a .919 save percentage (SV%).

Ville Husso St. Louis Blues
Ville Husso, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Husso played so well during the regular season that he earned himself the starting role during Game 1 of the postseason against the Minnesota Wild, his first NHL postseason appearance. It was baptism by fire, as he earned his first postseason shutout during the same game stopping all 37 shots against. The playoffs could have gone better for the Finnish goaltender after being replaced by Binnington ahead of Game 4 as a method to help jumpstart his team after losing two straight games and trailing 2-1 in the series. He ended up finishing the postseason with a 2-5 record, 3.67 GAA, and a .890 SV%.

What Went Wrong: The Playoffs

Husso’s regular-season record and performance were enough to turn heads around the NHL. However, the underlying numbers, specifically in the fourth quarter of the season, led many to wonder what the future holds. While a 13-4-4 record is nothing to scoff at, a .905 SV% and -3.93 goals saved above average rating brought expectations back to Earth.

As previously mentioned, his first playoff appearance resulted in a 37-save shutout performance. However, when looking beyond Game 1, his other six playoff appearances resulted in a 1-5 record and a .869 SV%. He also allowed at least four goals against in five of those six games.

Key Facts

  • .919 SV% ranked 7th in the NHL
  • Currently holds a career 2.74 GAA, .912 SV%
  • Was named 2nd Star of the Week (Jan. 23)

Final Grade: B

Husso’s regular-season performance should only help reinforce an upcoming payday. Despite the 3.08 GAA over his final 21 games, he reinforced himself as one of the top free-agent goaltenders on the market.

What’s Next for Husso?

The Blues are expected to have just over $9 million in cap space for the 2022-23 season. With multiple pieces to re-sign for the upcoming season, including forward David Perron, the salary cap space may not be available should he wish to cash in on a big payday. As an unrestricted free agent, Husso will be able to choose if he wishes to move on or remain with the team for the 2022-23 season and beyond.

Related: Blues 2020-21 Report Cards: Ville Husso

At the end of the season press conference, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said: “I’m a Ville Husso fan. I told him I’d love him to come back, but also it’s a business for him and he’s put himself in a spot now where if he wants to test the market, I would understand it.” (from ‘No overhaul needed: With few roster issues, Armstrong sees Blues in a good spot,’ St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 1, 2022).

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