Several NHL awards are given to players, coaches and management for exceptional performance in a season. There are only a couple of St. Louis Blues contenders for these awards – not because there aren’t exceptional players on the roster, but because they play together as a team. The most coveted award the Blues were contending for was the Stanley Cup.
The Stanley Cup
Despite a season-ending injury to Vladimir Tarasenko and a near-death experience for Jay Bouwmeester, the Blues managed to get through some rough games to find ways to win and stay on top of the Western Conference before the season was postponed.
The return of Tarasenko would have increased the firepower for the Blues and their playoff depth looked better by the day.
Related: Revisiting the Brayden Schenn Trade
The Blues picked themselves up from the basement of the NHL standings and were vying for a playoff spot by February of the 2018-19 season. They managed to win games, get to the Stanley Cup playoffs and win series after series. Ultimately, win the Stanley Cup because they played as a team.
Even after Ryan O’Reilly won the Conn Smythe Trophy last season, he was humble and mentioned being part of the group that won the coveted Stanley Cup.
The team finishing the season with the most points is awarded the Presidents’ Trophy. The Blues were sitting atop the Western Conference with 94 points and were in contention in the 2019-20 season, but still six points behind the Boston Bruins. They had 11 games to finish out the season and the Bruins had 12.
Both teams were hot before the suspension with the Blues recording an 8-2-0 record in their last 10 games, while the Bruins were 7-3-0 over the same span.
The remaining schedule for the Blues was tougher than the Bruins with games against the third, fourth, and sixth-seeded teams in the Eastern Conference and then ending the season against the Bruins and Avalanche.
The Bruins were set to face-off against the sixth, seventh and eighth seeds in the east then finishing the season against the Blues and Carolina Hurricanes.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche were tied with 92 points in the race for the top points team. Both clubs had 12 games left to play and could have possibly jumped ahead of the Blues in contention with the Bruins.
With the season paused right now, which team would officially win this coveted trophy is unknown. It was an exciting race to watch before everything shut down.
Ending the season with the most points doesn’t necessarily make a Stanley Cup-winning team. The last time the Blues won the Presidents’ Trophy, they were dismissed in the first round.
There are individuals in the NHL with better numbers than most of the Blues players. However, there are a few awards within the team to recognize.
James Norris Trophy
The NHL’s definition of the James Norris Trophy is “An annual award given to the defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”
Alex Pietrangelo was sitting in sixth for points and second in goals among all NHL defensemen. However, scoring is not the only factor being scrutinized when choosing a Norris Trophy winner.
An important role for a D-man is on the power play and he was second in the league with power-play goals. He and Brent Burns are tied at second with 225 shots trailing Roman Josi.
Pietrangelo mentions his intention to shoot the puck more this season:
Scoring, shots on goal and power-play success make Pietrangelo a strong contender for the Norris Trophy. He is a solid two-way defenseman with exceptional passing and knowledge of the ice. He’s rarely out of position and when he is, he knows how to dial it back in quickly to set up his forwards or fellow defenseman.
Hart Memorial Trophy
It may be a long shot, but David Perron deserves consideration as the most valuable player to his team. He has 27 power-play points (ranked 10th in the league) and nine game-winning goals (ranked third in the league).
Perron is tied with Brayden Schenn leading the team in goals with 25. He leads the team in offensive point shares with 5.0 and is first among Blues forwards for overall point shares.
He leads the team in overtime goals and sits one point behind Ryan O’Reilly, who leads the team with 61 points. The two have great chemistry on the ice and are key to scoring themselves or setting up scoring chances for their fellow linemates.
Hobey Baker Winner
Scott Perunovich was recently awarded the Hobey Baker Award for the college hockey best player of the year.
Selected 45th overall by the Blues in the 2018 NHL draft, Perunovich agreed to a two-year entry-level contract with the Blues in March.
“The expectation is always a national championship, and I have been fortunate enough to be a part of two of them,” Perunovich told SportsCenter.
“I’m extremely honored and humbled to be this year’s Hobey Baker Award recipient.”
Perunovich plays for the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and was part of their back-to-back NCAA national championships as a freshman and sophomore.
Individual Team Award
Colton Parayko’s 12 points in February equaled as many points in October and November combined. He already posted three points in March before the season was suspended.
Parayko was truly showing his two-way ability as a defenseman. He’s a big presence with an unobstructed view of the ice to defend and set up his teammates or score himself. The addition of Marco Scandella only improved Parayko’s play as the two quickly found chemistry on the ice.
Back on the Ice
Hopefully this pandemic gets controlled quickly and the NHL can resume from where they left off. Other options are already being considered in the case that doesn’t happen.
Whatever the outcome of this season’s pause, Blues players weren’t on the radar for numerous NHL awards. They were playing as a team to defend their Stanley Cup Championship. If life allows, they’ll have the chance to do that within the time frame of this season or at least this year.