St. Louis Blues: New Faces Thriving In Wake Of Injuries


The St. Louis Blues first nine games of the season have showed fans what the new faces on the team have to offer. With a string of injuries affecting the team, rookies Joel Edmundson, Colton Parayko, and Robby Fabbri have been asked to step up early in their NHL careers. The injuries haven’t just benefited rookies either. Injuries have helped spur early season success for veteran additions to the Blues roster like, Troy Brouwer, Kyle Brodziak, Scottie Upshall, and Scott Gomez.

The injuries I keep referring to are generally concerned with players who were on the Blues last year. Blues forwards Patrick Berglund, Jaden Schwartz, and Paul Stastny are all out for an extended period of time and that has taken a lot of the established offensive firepower away from the Blues early in the season. Add in an injury to defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, the quarterback of the Blues powerplay, and it gets a lot more difficult to imagine how the Blues are going to put the puck in the net this season (there is that Vladimir Tarasenko guy, but I can’t even begin to imagine how he will score next.)

Despite all the injuries to veterans, the Blues still managed six wins from their first nine games. Of those six wins, four came during a season-long six-game road trip. The Blues may be banged up to start the season, but the healthy players have been doing their best to keep their team afloat until the Blues can return to full strength.

Just look at Tuesday’s 2-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The first goal was scored and assisted by three players who were not Blues last season. After Brouwer made a good poke check to get the puck to Parayko at the point, Parayko uses his monster slap shot to put the puck on net. Gomez was in the right place at the right time as he deflected Parayko’s shot, earning his first goal as a Blue.

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The new faces weren’t done helping the Blues Tuesday night. Alex Pietrangelo (most definitely not a new face) gained the puck in the corner behind his own net before flicking it to a breaking Brouwer at the defensive blue line. Brouwer wasted no time collecting his second point of the night with a shot from near center ice that went right into the middle of the empty net.

Through the first nine games, the veteran additions to the Blues have mostly played to their situational strengths. Gomez and Upshall each have two points through five and six games respectively, and Brodziak has only collected one point this year despite playing in all nine games of the young season. Across the stat lines these players are not particularly bad, but one veteran addition has clicked with the rest of the Blues squad to start the season.

Brouwer has eight points (three goals, five assists) through the first nine games of the season. His eight points are enough to tie him with Alexander Steen for second on the Blues, trailing only Tarasenko who has nine points. This was exactly what the Blues needed from Brouwer early in the season to silence the doubters. You know, those people who questioned the trade that brought him to St. Louis from the Washington Capitals in exchange for T.J. Oshie.

I’ll admit it, I wasn’t Brouwer crazy before the season, but just looking at it from a statistical perspective, Brouwer has showed up a lot more than I think anyone anticipated. Brouwer’s assists tie him for the team lead with Jori Lehtera. His three goals are enough for Brouwer to be tied for third on the team. Brouwer’s +5 rating places him second among Blues players, and his 16.7 shooting percentage is also good enough to tie him for second place on the team.

Oct 16, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; St. Louis Blues forward Troy Brouwer (36) congratulates forward Kyle Brodziak (28) for his goal against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller (30) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The St. Louis Blues won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

With all that and only two penalty minutes through the first nine games of the season, it is easy to get excited about what Brouwer has to offer for the rest of the year. Despite Brouwer’s dominance in the early season stats, there are other new faces in the Blues that deserve their recognition too.

I wrote about how defenseman Colton Parayko has really showed up out of nowhere last week, and he has not let me down since. Parayko is tied with Brouwer at three goals, his 20 shots are third on the team, he is shooting 15 % (good enough for fourth on the team), and he is the team leader with a +6 rating.

It is also worth nothing that the other two players in the top four for shooting percentage are both new faces to the Blues. Fabbri leads the team by shooting at a 20 % clip, and Gomez is tied with Brouwer at 16.7 %.

I am a huge fan of the new players on the Blues. They are doing plenty to keep the team rolling along despite a ridiculous amount of injuries early in the season. Obviously I want the Blues back at full strength, but I’ll leave you with one more stat to think about regarding the replacements.

Of the Blues’ six wins this season, four of the game winning goals have come from players that were not on the team last year. I love the core players this team has been built around as much as the next Blues fan, but these nine games have shown me that the new faces on the Blues (both rookie and veteran) deserve our respect and admiration.

Next: St. Louis Blues vs Anaheim Ducks Shattenkirk Injury Update

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