3 Blues Forwards Having Career-Best Years

The St. Louis Blues have a plethora of players who are playing their best hockey this season, and some who aren’t. But I’m going to focus on the players who are having career-best years for them, taking a small page out of our Colorado Avalanche team here at The Hockey Writers.

They’ve needed a rare number of players to step up with the number of absences they’ve had this season. Every player that has played a game for them this season has missed a game except for defenseman Marco Scandella. Let’s get into some career-best seasons for a few of the Blues’ best players.

Ivan Barbashev

If you want to talk about the most valuable players on this team, one of the first names that should be brought up is Ivan Barbashev. He’s been a consistent two-way performer his entire career, but he’s added point production to his mantle this season.

Games PlayedGoals/Games Played
Assists/Games Played
Points/Games Played
Shot Percentage (S%)
Decimal Increase+0.22+0.26+0.47+5.9

Source: Hockey Reference

Through 35 games this season, Barbashev has already reached a career-high in points with 28. He needs two more goals to reach 15 for a career-high in goals, this has been the definition of a breakout season for him. He’s been a staple on a line with either Pavel Buchnevich or Vladimir Tarasenko for most of the season.

Ivan Barbashev St. Louis Blues
Ivan Barbashev, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

As a former second-round pick, it was always known that there was more offensive power in Barbashev’s game, it took until his sixth season to see it fully come together. It’s a combination of consistent linemates and heavy minutes that has helped him this season, it’s clear that head coach Craig Berube trusts him a lot.

The Blues have him locked into a contract that takes him through next season with a cap hit of $2.25 million, which appears to be a steal. It’s not surprising that the Blues have taken the time to let a forward fully develop, and it’s paying dividends in this case.

Jordan Kyrou

The expected breakout season has arrived for Jordan Kyrou, is electric ability has been on full display this season. He has emerged as one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league with his speed and shot. It’s not surprising that Kyrou has broken out, but the increase in numbers for him is stunning.

Seasons PlayedGames PlayedG/GPA/GPP/GPS%
Decimal Increase+0.29+0.46+0.75+7.0

Source: Hockey Reference

With 36 points in 32 games, Kyrou is over a point-per-game, and he’s one of two players who can boast that. He’s such an elite playmaker, he can create offense every time he touches the puck. With his shot being so lethal, teams have to respect that, so they’ll defend him differently. His speed can open up the ice for himself or his teammates, that’s why he’s been so successful this season.

Jordan Kyrou St. Louis Blues
Jordan Kyrou, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The combination of speed and skill between Kyrou and Robert Thomas makes Blues fans have high hopes for the future of this franchise, and they should. He’s currently riding a five-game point streak, with 11 points in that stretch. He has his breakout game with his record-breaking four-point performance in the 2022 Winter Classic.

The future is bright and the Blues have a dynamic playmaker who could score a point-per-game for many seasons to come. Another terrific draft pick by general manager Doug Armstrong outside of the first round, he’s made a habit of that in many of his drafts.

Pavel Buchnevich

The acquisition of Buchnevich from the New York Rangers is shaping up to be another massive win for Armstrong and the Blues. While it’s understood that the Rangers were in a weird spot with this deal, the Blues heavily benefited from it.

The Rangers are still an upper-echelon team, but they certainly made a mistake letting go of Buchnevich for the price of Sammy Blais and a second-round pick. This deal has been a huge part of the Blues’ success this season, he has been a horse for this team.

Seasons PlayedGames PlayedG/GPA/GPP/GPS%
Decimal Increase/Decrease+0.13+0.25+0.38-1.0

Source: Hockey Reference

Buchnevich had a great season in New York in 2020-21, but he has been even better this season. He had 48 points in 54 games last season, tallying his second 20-goal season. This season, he’s over a point-per-game with 34 points in 33 games, and he remains on track for another season over 20 goals.

One of the more interesting things from the table is that his shot percentage is down from his career with the Rangers. I think most of that is due to the volume of shots he has taken, he has 102 this season, just 18 down from his 120 last season in 21 more games.

Either way, this has been a tremendous deal for the Blues, especially with the extension they signed him to. They’ll have him locked in until after the 2024-25 season with a cap hit of $5.8 million, it’s a perfect relationship to this point.

Honorable Mention

Even with a short career and smaller sample size, Ville Husso has had a terrific season and deserves to be mentioned. He has a .931 save percentage (SV%) and has five quality starts in eight games, nearing a career-high. A quality start begins with SV% versus the average SV% for the season and then goes to a SV% of .885 on nights with 20 or fewer shots against.

Related: Blues Weekly: COVID List Additions, Husso, Trade Target & More

It’s also been a great season for Thomas, who has 0.93 P/GP this season, up from his career average of 0.49. He’s been much healthier this season with 27 points in 29 games, it’s been a great run. He has to keep playing with Kyrou, they’re too good to not be on the same line.

The Blues need these players to continue their career years for them to compete for a Stanely Cup, and I could see it happening. But the biggest key is for the other notable players around these five that I mentioned needing to step up their games.

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