3 Underrated Blues Going Into 2022-23

The St. Louis Blues roster for 2022-23 has a lot of known commodities. However, there are a few players that are clearly underrated.

Related: Meet the New Blues

The 2022-23 roster is built without gigantic superstars. They are built on strong depth and above-average goal scorers. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has done a brilliant job in sustaining success for over a decade. As such, it’s important to highlight the underrated players on a roster that has many of them.

Justin Faulk

It’s been back-to-back seasons of quality play from Justin Faulk. However, he hasn’t received the respect that he deserves in rankings for defensemen throughout the NHL. Most show his partner Torey Krug as a better defenseman, but that is simply not true. Krug has been solid for the Blues, but Faulk has been better overall in many categories. As a result, the trade for Faulk is looking better every season for Armstrong as the players he gave up in the deal have yet to contribute much to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Justin Faulk St. Louis Blues
Justin Faulk, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Faulk’s 2021-22 season was as dependable and consistent as he has been in his NHL career over 11 seasons, as he had the second-most points and goals in a season of his career with 16 goals and 47 points. The difference between his productive seasons in Carolina and his 2021-22 season in St. Louis was his enormous improvement in his defensive ability.

Faulk posted a career-best plus/minus of plus-47 last season. He has a staggering plus/minus of plus-49 over three seasons as a Blue, but that isn’t the most significant stat to read into. He also plays significant minutes for the Blues. If it weren’t for his dependability over the last two seasons, the team’s defensive unit would rank even worse than they already do. It’s past time for Faulk to get the respect that he deserves as one of the most consistent defensemen in the league.

Pavel Buchnevich

The Blues traded for Pavel Buchnevich from the New York Rangers prior to the 2021 Draft. They gave up forward Sammy Blais and a 2022 second-round pick that became defenseman Elias Salomonsson. After the trade, they gave Buchnevich a four-year deal that carries an annual average value (AAV) of $5.8 million. This deal has been incredible for the Blues after one season.

Buchnevich was the most underrated player to score over a point per game last season as he tallied 76 points in 73 games. He’d been trending in this direction towards the end of his run with the Rangers, but it has all come together in St. Louis. He has been overshadowed by Jordan Kyrou’s breakout, the passing ability of Robert Thomas, and the goal-scoring of Vladimir Tarasenko. None of those things should take away from how complete Buchnevich is as a player. His versatility and consistent production will be massive for the Blues in the 2022-23 season and beyond.

Scott Perunovich

This could be viewed as a reach to call Scott Perunovich underrated after just 19 NHL games, but hear me out. It seems to me that the Blues organization underrates him as well, given their lack of moves with the defensive unit this offseason. There is no guarantee that Perunovich is in the lineup at the start of this season.

Scott Perunovich St. Louis Blues
Scott Perunovich, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Perunovich had elite skill and poise during the 19 regular season and seven playoff games last season. While they’ve used him plenty as a power play quarterback, he can be more than that for the 2022-23 team. After Krug and Nick Leddy, there is no legitimate reason that he can’t be a third-pairing defenseman. His passing ability and vision make him too valuable to be sitting in the press box during games this season. It is not remotely justifiable for Marco Scandella or Niko Mikkola to play over him.

The Blues have a roster that houses a lot of properly-rated players. The underrated and overrated players are few and far between. These three players are the most underrated on the 2022-23 roster and there isn’t a close fourth behind them. Buchnevich and Faulk were both great acquisitions by Armstrong, while Perunovich was a draft pick of high value in the second round. This article further proves that Armstrong is one of the best executives in the NHL despite the lists that rank him far too low.

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