The St. Louis Blues have had a rocky first half of the 2020-21 season, to say the least. By way of 29 video games, somewhat over half of the shortened season, the membership is 14-10-5 for 33 factors. They’re barely hanging onto a spot within the Stanley Cup playoffs as they’re three factors forward of the Los Angeles Kings within the Honda West Division.
They’ve handled tons of accidents, leaving gamers that you simply didn’t count on to have vital roles, with vital roles. Some gamers have stepped as much as the problem and a few haven’t – let’s roll into the 2020-21 Blues’ midseason awards.
That is robust, however I believe probably the most constant ahead for the Blues has been Brayden Schenn. He has been himself all season, throwing his physique round and taking part in properly with all of his linemates regardless of Jaden Schwartz lacking a complete month. Schenn has been terrific even with out Schwartz.
Schenn is available in at third on the crew in scoring with 12 targets and 12 assists for twenty-four factors, and he’s tallied six of these factors on the ability play. He’s achieved what is anticipated of him which is to play as exhausting as anyone – he’s the definition of that mentality. That’s checked out as old-fashioned as of late, but it surely matches completely in St. Louis.
Talking of throwing the physique round, he’s second on the crew in hits this season with 68 – the one participant above him is Justin Faulk. Both approach, Schenn continues to be all the things the Blues have wished and extra after buying him from the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017. He signed an extension of eight years within the early a part of final season, so he’s right here to remain.
It’s exhausting to not choose Faulk for this award as he’s been terrific for almost all of this season. Regardless of being referred to as an offensive defenseman throughout his time with the Carolina Hurricanes, he’s stepped up his 200-foot recreation with the Blues this season.
As talked about earlier, he leads the crew in hits with 70 of them via 29 video games. He’s been pretty much as good as anyone within the NHL at closing gaps and stopping performs from creating. Hole closure is a staple of Blues hockey and Faulk has been marvelous at it.
He’s second on the crew amongst defensemen in factors with 13, behind Torey Krug in that class. He leads in targets amongst defensemen for the Blues with 5. He’s been the Faulk of outdated and extra for the Blues this season – it’s making Blues’ common supervisor Doug Armstrong look an entire lot smarter after that deal previous to final season.
Most Shocking Participant
Hear me out on this one, all of us knew that Jordan Kyrou had sky-high potential coming into this season, however he has exceeded expectations together with his first-half efficiency. He’s been what we thought Robert Thomas is likely to be this season, however Thomas acquired injured within the early a part of the season.
Kyrou acquired off to a lightning-fast begin this season – he’s slowed a bit since then, however he’s nonetheless fourth on the crew in factors and has been nice for many of the season. He has tallied 21 factors (8 targets and 13 assists) over 29 video games, a terrific leap for the 22-year-old.
The nice factor that Kyrou does is that he can match on any line for this crew and has pace off the charts. He’s a playmaker and has shot – he does lots properly, however the one factor you could not like is he isn’t nice on the defensive finish. That’s anticipated with a real pace and talent participant that’s so younger.
I’ve confidence that the Blues can squeeze some defensive potential out of him in some unspecified time in the future – both approach, it’s been barely stunning that he’s already pretty much as good as he’s.
Most Disappointing Participant
Honest or not honest, Zach Sanford has been an enormous disappointment this season primarily based on the expectations of enchancment that I had for him. He hasn’t been on a constant line this season, which has harm him, however he has been actually disappointing.
Sanford has eight targets and 4 assists this season – six of his targets are over an 11-game stretch and he’s been up-and-down all season. His protection has been dangerous, to say the very least – he’s had numerous terrible turnovers that both led to a objective or near it.
Sanford needs to be higher, and I do know the fanbase picks on him lots, but it surely has been largely warranted this season. He needs to be placed on a constant line when the crew will get again to close full energy – that can assist him, however together with his top, he needs to be higher in all three zones.
What to Count on within the Second Half
I count on the Blues to have a robust end to this season with what number of returning gamers they’ll have. It is a crew that has missed Tyler Bozak, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Colton Parayko, Robert Thomas and extra for many this season. That has unquestionably harm them, and I’m pleased with the best way which have stayed within the playoff image.
The second half will completely be higher – I belief Blues head coach Craig Berube greater than many coaches this crew has had up to now. They’ve an ideal employees and an ideal crew, after they get wholesome, they’ll return to their earlier elite standing.
I’ve been masking sports activities for almost a decade. I began with FanSided as a Baseball Contributor. Now I’m writing concerning the NHL and the St. Louis Blues for The Hockey Writers. I grew up in Central Illinois as an enormous fan of each sport. Lastly, I run my very own podcast community “ECSW” on all the key podcast platforms.