Blues’ 3 Most Valuable Players Early On in 2022-23

The St. Louis Blues have had a streaky start to the 2022-23 season. They are 11-11-0 with an eight-game losing streak and seven straight wins mixed in. As of right now, they are just outside of a playoff spot, behind the Minnesota Wild and Edmonton Oilers. The Blues haven’t found their stride through 22 games but have shown signs of promise outside of the big losing streak.

With all of this said, it’s difficult to find the most valuable players on an inconsistent team, but there are options. While the title may read “early on,” we are now nearing the quarter-mark of the season with 60 games remaining. Let’s delve into who the Blues’ three most valuable players are through 22 games in 2022-23.

Brayden Schenn

One constant throughout the season has been Brayden Schenn. He dealt with injuries last season, and that slowed him down a bit, but he’s bounced back with better numbers in key areas. He had good numbers last season, but it was clear that he was struggling in other areas of the game. This season, he’s been a versatile forward playing on different lines and scoring key goals. The numbers don’t always show the most valuable player on a team, and Schenn is a great example of that. He’s been a tremendous leader, throwing hits and fighting for his teammates whenever he needs to.

Brayden Schenn St. Louis Blues
Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While Schenn’s numbers might not be great overall – it’s hard to be consistent on a streaky team – he’s been front and center throughout the season. He has six goals and 11 assists in 21 games, with a minus-10, but that’s been inflated recently. While his contract might not age well, he’s been solid this season; he had five points during the team’s eight-game losing streak, one of the Blues’ only producers doing that stretch.

Versatility and leadership matter in the NHL, and Schenn is the best on the roster in both areas. His style allows him to play on any of the top three lines with success. He’s currently slated to center the third line with Jake Neighbours and Jordan Kyrou next to him, and he’s played on the top two lines in the last few games.

Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas’ value was on display when the Blues dropped a 4-1 decision to the Dallas Stars without him. They struggled in the faceoff circle and didn’t generate much offense. Those are two things that he does exceptionally well. He has 19 points in 21 games and has been elite in the faceoff circle at 55 percent. Not only is he an elite playmaker, but he also has chemistry with his linemates and solid defensive ability.

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While his production isn’t quite what it was in 2021-22, he’s still putting up quality numbers. Before he was injured against the Florida Panthers, he had eight points in six games. His line with Kyrou and Pavel Buchnevich has been an offensive driving force for the team, and it doesn’t drop off when Vladimir Tarasenko jumps onto the line over Kyrou. Thomas and Buchnevich have been two of the best offensive players for the Blues in the last two seasons, and the 2022-23 Blues centers around Thoms and Buchnevich anchoring the offense with Kyrou and Tarasenko scoring goals. The bottom line is Thomas has lived up to the hype following a breakout season in 2021-22.

Calle Rosen

It’s hard to believe, but Calle Rosen is the most valuable defenseman on the Blues this season. It helps that almost every other defenseman on the team has struggled, but Rosen has been terrific in limited ice time. There is an argument for Niko Mikkola, Buchnevich, Noel Acciari, Jordan Binnington, and others, but I’m riding the Rosen train here. The gap between Rosen’s play and the other defensemen over the past few weeks is significant, and he deserves more ice time, but he isn’t getting it. For some reason, head coach Craig Berube still believes it’s worth having Colton Parayko and Nick Leddy on the ice for more than 22 minutes per game.

Calle Rosen St. Louis Blues
Calle Rosen, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images)

In 13 games, he has two goals and three assists, is a plus-10, and with only two penalty minutes. He’s played confidently with the puck and has made very few mistakes overall, and because of him, the Blues are running with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. However, I think he should be in one of the top two pairings, regardless of the personnel around him. He’s earned a bigger role becuase of his consistency. His offensive numbers are similar to 2021-22 when he played 18 games and had seven points, but I think his defensive game is now much better.

As I mentioned earlier, the concept of naming the most valuable players on the team is difficult. There have been fewer consistent players in 2022-23 than last season, so it’s key to give credit to players like Rosen. The Blues’ defensive unit would not be much without his contributions. We’ll have to see if Kyrou, Buchnevich, and Tarasenko can continue to score at a rapid pace to keep their team afloat. The month of December’s difficult schedule will be telling.

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