The St. Louis Blues have lacked consistency in over a month of video games within the 2023-24 season. With that lack of consistency comes an appreciation of gamers who’re exceeding expectations thus far. Listed below are three Blues which have carried out above their expectations this season.
Colton Parayko – A Season of Redemption
This has been a season of redemption for Colton Parayko thus far. He’s seemed much more like he did earlier in his profession when he was seen as a future top-pairing shutdown defenseman. The Blues have been a greater total defensive staff this season, however there are nonetheless some flaws on the again finish. Nevertheless, Parayko has been regular all through the primary 17 video games.
He’s seemed as wholesome as ever and that may be seen along with his motion as a skater this season. A part of his brilliance early in his profession was the flexibility to be a really cell skater at 6-foot-6. He has 4 factors on the season and a plus/minus of plus-1, which is up from his minus-19 final season. He’s performed large minutes all season and has defended in addition to anyone on the Blues’ blue line. Parayko must maintain this going all season, and if he does, the eight-year extension from final season seems barely higher. There’s nonetheless loads of season left for him to maintain this degree up.
Jordan Binnington – Bounce Again Marketing campaign
Much like Parayko, goaltender Jordan Binnington entered this season off of a few powerful seasons. He’s bounced again in an enormous means thus far and that shouldn’t be missed. He’s been cash in nearly each begin this season and his 5-5-1 document doesn’t do his degree of play justice. For all of the criticism he took over the previous couple of seasons and this offseason, he’s responded in an enormous means along with his efficiency this season. The Blues went into this season needing this play from Binnington, particularly since goaltender Joel Hofer isn’t prepared to be an NHL starter but.
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In 12 video games performed, Binnington has a save proportion (SV%) of .922 and a goals-against common (GAA) of two.47. This begin comes after back-to-back seasons the place he had a SV% beneath .910 and a GAA above 3.00. It helps that the defensive play in entrance of him has improved, however he’s carried the Blues in a number of video games this season. His contract continues to be an issue at $6 million per season by 2026-27, however he’s performed effectively this season. I don’t know if he’ll maintain this Vezina trophy degree up all season, so that’s not the general expectation, however being an above-average starter goes a great distance in profitable video games.
Robert Thomas – An Elite Middle So Far
The Blues’ greatest ahead this season has been Robert Thomas by a large margin. He’s grown in nearly each space of his recreation. He has blossomed right into a implausible two-way middle at a time when the Blues wanted it essentially the most with the departure of Ryan O’Reilly final season.
Thomas has 17 factors in 17 video games, together with six targets and a plus-6 on the season. He’s enjoying over 20 minutes per recreation and going through off in opposition to the opposing staff’s high line. Having an elite two-way middle on the primary line is a serious key for all NHL groups which have success. On high of his level manufacturing, he’s received 56.5 p.c of faceoffs this season, which is up from 52.9 p.c final season. His wage cap hit of $8.125 million per season by 2030-31 already seems like a steal with the NHL cap inevitably rising over the following a number of seasons.
General, there are various Blues gamers who aren’t exceeding the expectations this season, so these three picks have been pretty straightforward to make. The Blues want different gamers to search out their recreation, similar to Jordan Kyrou, Brayden Schenn, Nick Leddy, and others to ensure that them to compete for a playoff spot in a skinny Western Convention.