Blues Weekly: Armstrong, Tarasenko, Perunovich & More

The St. Louis Blues went 2-0-1 in their second trip to Canada of the season, with their one loss coming against the worst of the three in the Montreal Canadiens.

St. Louis Blues Weekly Ryan O'Reilly David Perron
Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron (The Hockey Writers)

The Blues didn’t play their best hockey on this road trip, which will continue with the Philadelphia Flyers this week, yet they added points in all three games. It may sound like me trying to be too positive, but I believe this team will be fine, and their bounce back against the Toronto Maple Leafs proves that.

Blues Get 500th Win Under GM Armstrong

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong became the 25th general manager in NHL history to win 500 games with one franchise. Since becoming the GM for the 2010-11 season, they’ve made it to the playoffs in nine of 11 seasons, including winning the 2019 Stanley Cup. He’s currently the fifth-longest tenured general manager in the NHL, which is impressive given the revolving door nature of the position.

His tenure in St. Louis has been marked by brilliant trades, whether it’s the Ryan O’Reilly deal, the Brayden Schenn deal, and many others, he knows how to build a winning team with depth. He has been criticized for free agency moves, which is fair, but his moves prior to the 2018-19 season with Tyler Bozak, David Perron, and Pat Maroon helped lead them to that Cup. He remains one of the best in the league at his job and has had continued success in St. Louis.

Tarasenko Misses Game with Injury

There is not a lot of information out there regarding Vladimir Tarasenko, but he missed the Saturday matchup in Toronto after playing the two games prior. Head coach Craig Berube categorized him as day-to-day with the injury, so it doesn’t appear to be that serious. This comes after the line of Tarasenko with Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich dominated on Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators.

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

Tarasenko is in the midst of a major bounce-back season for the Blues, with 18 goals and 45 points in 44 games. He had seven goals in 34 games in the two seasons before this one, missing a ton of time with two separate shoulder surgeries. Before the last two seasons before this one, he had five straight seasons of 30 or more goals.

It’s been a return to normalcy for Tarasenko after requesting a trade in the offseason, he’s come back more motivated than ever, and it’s paid off. The hope now has to be that the injury isn’t serious, and he can return for a Blues team that needs to rack up points.

Perunovich Sent to AHL for Conditioning Stint

The Blues sent defenseman Scott Perunovich to the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League (AHL), their affiliate, for a conditioning stint. He suffered an upper-body injury, and has been on injured reserve for a couple of weeks, he hasn’t played in a game since the middle of January.

Related: Blues Should Protect Perunovich in Trades

For a defensive unit that needs a spark and better results, Perunovich should be put back into the lineup once he’s healthy. He showed many flashes in his 19 games this season, showing that he could be a dynamic player on the back-end for seasons to come.

He only had six assists and didn’t tally a goal, but he has produced at every other level, and the way he skates shows what he can be. He’s also very dynamic with the puck and has a calming presence at a younger age with that ability, he can be special.

Saad Notches 200th NHL Goal

In unsurprising news, Brandon Saad has been a great free agent signing for the Blues in his first season representing St. Louis. Everybody knew he would be a great fit if it happened, and that has come true. He’s been a quality two-way forward with 16 goals and 27 points in 45 games. They’ve thrown him on any of the top three lines throughout the season, and he has produced regardless.

Brandon Saad St. Louis Blues
Brandon Saad, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

He tallied his 200th goal of his NHL career in the win over the Maple Leafs, it was his first goal since late January when he had two goals against the Calgary Flames. He is now in his 10th full season, he’s spent time with four different teams, winning two Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks.

He’s just been such a good fit, the duo of Saad and Buchnevich can be put up against almost any offseason acquisition for this season with their impact. Congratulations to Saad on this milestone and let’s all hope he can get at least 100 more wearing the blue note.

The Week Ahead

  • Tuesday: at Philadelphia Flyers, 6 PM
  • Friday: vs. Buffalo Sabres, 7 PM
  • Sunday: at Chicago Blackhawks, 2 PM

The Blues wrap up the month of February with three matchups against non-playoff teams as of the current standings. None of that matters if you saw the Blues loss to the Canadiens. They just need to keep their heads down and play hockey and keep winning games.

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