It’s February, and love is in the air. Players have returned from the All-Star break, and fans are returning to the rinks to see their teams and favorite players once more. As the push for postseason play commences, St. Louis Blues fans will undoubtedly boast even more about the players they have fallen in love with and supported over the first half of the season with purchases of memorabilia and jerseys. In the spirit of the holiday, let’s hand out some Valentine’s to three players that may have caught the fans’ eye this season.
The Russian forward was acquired in the offseason in a trade that sent the restricted free agent to St. Louis in exchange for forward Sammy Blais and a 2022 second-round draft pick. Days later, he would put pen to paper and sign a four-year contract extension with the Blues worth $23.2 million.
At the time of the trade, there was a large level of uncertainty as fellow Russian, Vladimir Tarasenko‘s future was still up in the air after an off-season trade request was made public. Today, Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich are currently sitting in second and third spot respectively for total points scored on the team.
Buchnevich came over from the New York Rangers with five years and over 300 games of professional hockey experience where he scored 79 goals and 195 points. Today, the forward is on pace to score 30 goals and 72 total points this season alone. His immediate impact has continuously pushed the team to victories and remains a strong Stanley Cup contender as the season has moved along.
Valentine: Hug Me
The 27-year-old Finnish netminder came into his second season in the NHL ready to take a backseat to his goaltending counterpart, Jordan Binnington. However, as inconsistent play from Binnington and COVID-19 illness has made its way through the roster, Ville Husso not only finds himself earning additional playing time but has found himself in serious contention to start each game moving forward.
In his first season with the Blues, Husso appeared in 17 games (starting 15) with a 9-6-1 record, a .893 save percentage and allowing an average of 3.21 goals per game. This season, he is ranked the number one goaltender in the NHL in both save percentage (.941), and goals-against average (1.90) among goalies who have appeared in six or more games. While Binnington may have the proven track record and the Stanley Cup ring to show for it, his counterpart is giving every reason for the coaching staff to consider himself each night.
Valentine: Be Mine
The 23-year-old Toronto native was the lone Blues player to earn an All-Star nomination this season and he did not disappoint. Pitted against the best players around the league, Jordan Kyrou earned the title of Fastest Skater and dethroned Connor McDavid of his title. The forward came into this season with a brand new, two-year contract extension worth $5.6 million and is showing the world he is worth every penny, and more.
Before the start of this season, Kyrou appeared in 99 regular season games scoring 19 goals and 47 total points. The forward has taken his top-six role to new heights scoring 17 goals and 42 points in 40 games this season, good for first place on the team and currently 34th in the NHL. Should he continue his scoring pace, the winger could have over 30 goals and 80 or more points to his name this season alone.
Mike is a writer for The Hockey Writers and covers the St. Louis Blues since November of 2021. He has a keen love for statistical analysis, prospects, signings, and trades. Follow Mike on Twitter for further Blues or Central division hockey discussions, interview requests, or to provide content info.