The St. Louis Blues are off to a 3-0-0 start to the 2021-22 season, with road wins over the Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and Vegas Golden Knights. They’ve scored a lot of goals and have looked like a more cohesive unit compared to the 56-game 2020-21 season. A lot of players have played well so far, but three have stood out.
Jordan Kyrou has been spectacular, and he’s made me look like a fool for predicting he would have a down season. He’s been one of the best offensive players in the NHL through the first week and a half, producing points and primary assists, meaning he is the final passer before a goal is scored.
Kyrou was a restricted free agent (RFA) and re-signed on a team-friendly two-year deal during the offseason, which will likely look like a steal.
Kyrou has been on a line centered by Brayden Schenn and with Pavel Buchnevich before his suspension. This line has looked terrific, mostly thanks to Kyrou’s excellent speed and skill, which is changing the way that the Blues play. He has seven points through three games, including five assists. The last Blues player to score that many points through three games was forward Kevin Miller in the 1993-94 season. He finished the season with 48 points, but Kyrou should reach over 60 points if he’s healthy.
Once Buchnevich finishes his suspension, this line should continue to play well. These three have combined for four goals in three games, with Kyrou driving the offense throughout. He looks faster this season, which is remarkable because he was already fast, but this season looks like another gear.
It seems like the old Colton Parayko is back. He is skating well and making plays in all three zones; the points don’t matter much right now. He is doing his job of taking up space, and the Blues’ defensive coverage looks better for it.
After Alex Pietrangelo left before the 2020-21 season, Parayko struggled in his newfound role as the Blues’ number one defenseman, but we already know it can take a season or two to adjust to a major role change or a new team, just ask Justin Faulk.
The contract extension was a gamble in the hopes that he would return to form, and he’s off to a great start. Although, it helps to have a defensive unit that he has spent a lot of time with, and he has established chemistry with Torey Krug, Marco Scandella, and even Jake Walman.
The analytics may not be the prettiest through three games, but it’s a small sample size. On the ice, I see a different Parayko compared to 2020-21 when he was injured. When he carries the puck up ice and into the offensive zone with big strides, you know he’s back.
Jordan Binnington’s numbers may not be the best – most teams have given up a lot of goals this season – but he has had a great start to the season. He can make a huge save that changes the momentum of a game, and he stood on his head against the Golden Knights on Wednesday, making 42 saves on 43 shots in the final game of the team’s three-game road trip.
Binnington’s save percentage (SV%) is up to .921 after three games, with some help from that 42-save performance in Vegas. Even though he allowed multiple goals in the first two games, he looked sharp.
He’s one of two goaltenders with three wins on the season, tied with Cam Talbot of the Minnesota Wild, who has a .911 SV%. Binnington has saved 11 more shots than Talbot and he has a .929 SV% on the penalty kill this season. The confidence that he seems to have is similar to his play before the pandemic when he had a 54-18-8 career regular-season record.
Honorable Mentions: Justin Faulk, Vladimir Tarasenko, David Perron
The Blues are off to a great start and they’ve been competitive against talented teams, despite the injuries and absences to the Avalanche and Golden Knights’ rosters. St. Louis’ speed is much improved from the past couple of seasons, and it’s fun to watch.
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.