The St. Louis Blues’ 2021-22 season represented a big transition for the franchise. Now not a stout defensive crew constructed from the blue line out, they completed 2d within the NHL in objectives scored, with 9 forwards recording 20-plus objectives. Although the season got here to an lead to a six-game defeat by way of the Colorado Avalanche in the second one spherical, there are many highs and lows to replicate on. On this sequence, we’ll overview every participant who performed 10 or extra video games with the crew (in addition to the top trainer and normal supervisor), grading their particular person efficiency and having a look at their long term with the crew.
What Went Proper: Seemless Transition
On the business cut-off date, it was once a foregone conclusion that the Blues wanted a left-shot defenseman. The crew was once connected to avid gamers like Jakob Chychrun as a participant that might have compatibility the invoice and pair neatly with any individual like Colton Parayko at the top-pairing, any individual they’d been looking to fit with since Jay Bouwmeester departed from the NHL. When the crew introduced their acquisition of defenseman Nick Leddy, enthusiasts and media alike have been shocked and idea the Blues sorely overlooked the mark and shot themselves within the foot. On the other hand, their entrance place of work proved everybody incorrect when he joined the crew and become one among their key defensive avid gamers all the way through the playoffs.
The 31-year-old defenseman transitioned seamlessly from a crew that was once out of the playoffs to a Stanley Cup contender as though he have been there all season lengthy. He showcased his crisp passes and transition from the defensive to offensive zones and his skill to protect the most productive of the most productive across the league. During the playoffs, he was once closely relied upon to protect in opposition to Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov and Colorado’s height line that includes avid gamers like Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. Leddy completed the season in St. Louis taking part in 20 regular-season video games, the place he scored two objectives and 8 issues, together with 9 postseason video games scoring one function and 5 issues.
What Went Improper: Developing Extra Questions for Defensemen
Leddy has confirmed that the Blues can gain under-the-radar kind avid gamers and have compatibility them into their crew with little to no transition duration. The issue that turns into of it is a possible ticket that he may well be incomes after appearing he may nonetheless be a competent, top-four defenseman.
If Leddy did the rest actually incorrect in his time with the Blues, it was once that he created extra questions surrounding the way forward for their defensemen, particularly the ones at the left aspect. He excelled in his time in St. Louis and confirmed he is usually a participant that pairs neatly with Parayko and play at the height unit. Except they’re keen to modify their deployment and mindset of who their top-pairing defensemen are, they are going to most likely try to signal and play him as a top-pairing defenseman. Whilst this will likely assist different avid gamers earn ice time, particularly the pairing of Torey Krug and Justin Faulk, it creates issues for avid gamers like Scott Perunovich who will want taking part in time and a selected function within the NHL.
- Averaged 21:03 of moderate time on ice (3rd amongst Blues defensemen)
- Blocked 18 pictures over 20 video games (0.9 in line with recreation)
Ultimate Grade: A
The Blues had been in determined want of a two-way defenseman to fill in at the left aspect for the previous few seasons now. By the point they’d reached the playoffs, it was once transparent that they wanted a participant like Leddy to solidify and stability the defensive pairings transferring ahead. His three-game absence was once noticeable as he, amongst a number of different defensemen, was once out of the lineup because of damage and left looking for stability.
What’s Subsequent for Leddy?
Coming off of a six-year, $38.5 million contract, Leddy is ready to transform an unrestricted unfastened agent this summer time. He averaged $5.5 million in line with season over his most up-to-date contract and can glance to earn no less than $5 million yearly on his subsequent one. The Blues these days have simply over $9 million in cap area this coming season and a log jam at the left aspect with Marco Scandella, Niko Mikkola, Perunovich, Krug, and Calle Rosen all combating for contracts and taking part in time with the crew subsequent season.
Common supervisor Doug Armstrong will want to get inventive this offseason as it’s the defensemen that want new contracts this 12 months, whilst the forwards will probably be up for renewal subsequent 12 months. Whilst Leddy is an attractive solution to play top-pairing mins for the Blues transferring ahead, Armstrong and corporate will want to be wary concerning the contract they’re making plans to supply. With younger avid gamers like Perunovich on the upward push, there are sure to be extra questions surrounding the state of the protection over the following couple of seasons as neatly.
Mike is a author for The Hockey Writers and covers the St. Louis Blues since November of 2021. He has a prepared love for statistical research, possibilities, signings, and trades. Practice Mike on Twitter for additional Blues or Central department hockey discussions, interview requests, or to offer content material data.