Blues Weekly: Leddy, Perron, Krug & More

The St. Louis Blues continue their cold streak with a record of 1-2-0, and were outscored 12-2 on home ice against the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes this week. It was ugly, and the month of March has not been kind to this team.

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

They were awful in two of their three games after beginning the week with promise, defeating a solid Washington Capitals team 5-2 on the road. They’ve looked lazy and completely lost in many spots throughout this stretch, as they are now 3-6-3 in their last 12 games, which won’t cut it. The work ethic and style of play that has made them successful under head coach Craig Berube have seemingly disappeared in the last few weeks. They’re now in third place in the Central Division with a record of 35-20-9, and are three points behind the Minnesota Wild for second place, having played one more game.

Related: Blues Facing Team Adversity as Playoffs Near

The Blues have to find their game now, because playoff hockey is not that far away, and they could miss it entirely. They have a key injury on the blue line now, and must figure out how to battle adversity on the defensive end, where they have struggled all season. They have the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators breathing down their back for the third spot in the division, so they have to finish second or third to avoid a first-round matchup with the juggernaut Colorado Avalanche.

Leddy Makes Post-Trade Blues Debut

After trading for defenseman Nick Leddy, the Blues threw him right into the lineup and paired him with Colton Parayko against the Capitals. He played over 20 minutes in all three games, tallying one assist and a plus/minus of minus-1, which isn’t bad considering the number of goals that the Blues gave up.

He’s been solid overall, as his puck possession metrics through the three games have been fantastic, albeit with a small sample size. He’ll have to fit into his role even sooner considering the new injury on the blue line, so next week will be a crucial set of games for Leddy.

Krug Week-to-Week With Upper Body Injury

The Blues will be without Torey Krug for at least another week or so, as he’s listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. He left the game against the Capitals after being slashed near his hands by a Capitals player. Clearly, the injury is not good, since he left the game and hasn’t returned to the ice since. That said, he seemingly avoided surgery, which is good news.

Torey Krug St. Louis Blues
Torey Krug, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Krug, along with Justin Faulk, has been the only reliable defensemen for the Blues this season, especially when they’re paired together. In his second season with the Blues, Krug has settled into his role and the Blues’ style of play, with 35 points in 57 games. Last season, he had 32 points in 51 games while settling into his new home. He has clearly been more comfortable this season in St. Louis, so the numbers and eye test prove that.

The injury to Krug makes the Leddy deal much more important, as they’ll need him to provide some of the puck movement and playmaking that they had with Krug. The focus for him now is to get healthy and ready for a hopeful run to the playoffs, as the Blues are currently 0-2-0 since his injury, so they will need him back to have any success beyond the regular season.

Perron Has Been Terrific in March

It was a little over a month ago when Blues fans were wondering what happened to David Perron, as he was having a rough season. Ever since the calendar flipped to March, he’s become himself and more, so he’s been on quite the heater over the month of March.

David Perron (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

From the beginning of January to the end of February, Perron had four goals and four assists in 18 games. Since the beginning of March, he has 11 goals and five assists for 16 points in 10 games, so his play has been fantastic.

He’s up to 43 points in 50 games, which changes the narratives surrounding an extension for him this summer. His contract is up after this season, making him an unrestricted free agent (UFA), and they cleared some salary cap space by moving Oskar Sundqvist in the Leddy deal. I think the Blues will want to extend Perron, but I don’t think general manager Doug Armstrong is afraid to allow him to hit the open market if they can’t reach a fair deal.

Blues Sign 2020 Draft Pick Kessel to Entry-Level Deal

The Blues announced that they signed 2020 fifth-round pick defenseman Matthew Kessel to a two-year entry-level deal that begins for the 2022-23 season. He will report to the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Springfield Thunderbirds on a tryout, meaning he will be on their roster for the rest of the season.

Kessel is 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds, bringing size to the blue line at the UMass, where he’s played his three seasons of college hockey. He has been a huge part of the UMass teams over the past season, being named to last year’s NCAA All-Tournament Team helping UMass capture their first championship.

Lackluster Record Versus Teams Under .500

The Blues have had major struggles with teams that they are better than, which is a problem when they’re fighting for a playoff spot and a specific one at that. They’ve been dominant against the Chicago Blackhawks and Seattle Kraken, but average or below average against the rest.

Getting less than 30 out of 40 possible points against the bottom 10 teams in the league is unacceptable, especially with losses to the Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens, who are fighting for draft lottery positioning. They have a good record, but they’ve wasted a lot of points by not showing up in certain games.

They have to figure out how to come together and show up in every game, and it’s a major issue that they haven’t shown up in many games. They only have four games left against this set of the bottom-10 teams in the league; it’s one more with the Kraken and Coyotes, and one more each with the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres. Those will be must-win games to keep pace within the division.

The Week Ahead

  • Monday: vs. Vancouver Canucks, 6:30 PM
  • Wednesday: at Vancouver Canucks, 9 PM
  • Saturday: at Edmonton Oilers, 8 PM
  • Sunday: at Calgary Flames, 9 Pm

It’s a big week of games for the Blues, and a tiring one too, with four games in seven days. They’ll have to dig deep and get back on their feet to end this bad stretch they have had for a few weeks now. They’re 1-0-0 against the Canucks, who they will see twice. As for the other two, they’re 1-1-0 against the Flames and Oilers, and those will prove to be difficult road games.

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