As the St. Louis Blues look to continue their red-hot 6-1 start to the season, all eyes continue to focus on several key storylines from this past offseason. The Blues and star forward Vladimir Tarasenko’s trade request; Colton Parayko’s back recovery; the acquisition of forwards Pavel Buchnevich and signing of James Neal; Torey Krug’s second season with the Blues; and Jordan Binnington’s performance in net. However, one aspect that many continue to overlook is the quiet breakout of the 2017 20th overall draft pick, Robert Thomas.
While the focus tends to draw upon those who either score the goals or make big saves to prevent them, Thomas is taking a quieter road and doing everything he needs to do to set his teammates up for success. Through seven games this season, he has six points (all assists) and is currently on pace for a 70-point season, nearly doubling his NHL career total points. Which begs the question: Is it sustainable?
Quick Dive Into 7 Games of the Season
Oct. 18, 2021: Blues Against the Arizona Coyotes
In the second period, Thomas was able to recover a fumbled puck in the offensive zone and quickly turn and pass the puck to a streaking Klim Kostin, which resulted in Kostin’s first goal of the 2021-22 season.
Then, around the 12-minute mark of the third period, Thomas was also able to set up Ivan Barbashev for his first goal of the season. Before the goal, Thomas was behind the net attempting to set up a scoring chance. He completed a backhand pass to Tarasenko, who then pushed a backhand pass to Barbashev in front of the net. The puck was blocked away and intercepted once more by Thomas. He then skated out and quickly passed the puck to Barbashev once more, who ultimately scored on a one-timer.
Oct. 20, 2021: Blues Against the Vegas Golden Knights
At the end of the third period, Thomas recovered a pass in the neutral zone, carried the puck past the blue line, and fed Barbashev to score an empty-net goal. There isn’t much to this goal, but it was a nice heads-up play to secure the late goal and put the Blues up 3-1 and secure the victory.
Oct. 23, 2021: Blues Against the Los Angeles Kings
Thirty-eight seconds into the third period, Thomas directed a shot-pass on net as veteran James Neal waited on the far side of the net next to LA Kings goaltender Cal Petersen, who ultimately deflected the puck in for a power-play goal.
Oct. 25, 2021: Blues Against the LA Kings
In a rematch against the Kings, Thomas was credited with a secondary assist when he passed the puck to Torey Krug, who fed it to Tarasenko to set up a highlight-reel goal against Jonathan Quick. Thomas did what was needed of him and helped clear the puck out of his own zone, but it would ultimately be Tarasenko here who did the heavy lifting.
Oct. 28, 2021: St. Louis Blues Against the Colorado Avalanche
In the third period of the Blues’ first loss of the season, Thomas is fed the puck by Tarasenko on a breakout play through the neutral zone. He then quickly passed the puck back to Tarasenko as they crossed the blue line and into the Avalanche’s territory. Tarasenko then does all the work to get his shot off with two defenders surrounding him and scores on Darcy Kuemper.
Before the season started, Thomas signed a two-year, $5.6 million extension with the Blues, mirroring that of teammate Jordan Kyrou. As Kyrou continues his red-hot start to the season (nine points in seven games), fans are beginning to look to the future and see the potential dynamic duo in Thomas and Kyrou. It has yet to be seen if the two will end up as consistent linemates this season or the 2022-23 season. With Thomas’ growing creativity and on-ice vision, it would seem as if it is only a matter of time before he becomes a household name amongst NHL fans.
Mike is a lifelong fan and enthusiast of the St. Louis Blues. The love of the game was passed down to him by his father and he has never looked back. Since the creation of his personal hockey blog in 2016, Mike has enjoyed spinning his own personal take and love of the game for anyone who wants to read or talk about it. He has enjoyed over a decade of fantasy sports championship wins and the not so fun losing and rebuilding seasons in dynasty leagues. Mike is a longtime fan and follower of not only the Blues, but of the Central or “Norris” division as a whole.