The St. Louis Blues opened up their prospect tournament quite well with a good result. They relied on Ville Husso a little too much as they began things in Traverse City.
The St. Louis Blues began their 2016-17 campaign in Traverse City, Michigan and Ville Husso was the star. It was the annual prospects tournament kicking off what many young players will be a season with plenty of NHL games.
The Blues took on the prospects of their main rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks came ready to play and the Blues, except for their goaltender, should have stayed in bed.
Chicago’s prospects outshot St. Louis’ 12-4 and had a 1-0 lead after one period of play. St. Louis didn’t even muster a good chance on goal until about 12 minutes left in the middle frame.
Sometimes, it is better to be lucky than good though. The Blues prospects poached a goal not long after that initial chance.
Chicago kept peppering the goal while the Blues were back on their heels. Midway through the third period, the Blackhawks were winning the shot battle 27-11.
In typical hockey fashion, the deserved winner did not win. Chicago dominated much of the offensive part of the game only to see two goals end up in the back of their net.
Chicago pulled one back before the final buzzer, but it would not be enough. Husso, the potential Blues goalie of the future, shined with over 30 saves.
People were very happy with his performance. There was quite a bit to be happy with many of the prospects, even though it was mainly the goaltender to save the day – literally.
It was a mixed bag as far as a first game goes.
The Blues got the win. Pure and simple. It shouldn’t matter how it comes as long as you get the W.
The team got decent performances from key names like Jordan Kyrou and Barbashev. However, defensively, they were a bit shaky even though it doesn’t show in the box score.
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Ville Husso faced too much for an early game. He was up to the challenge though. He was sharp positionally and had good rebound control.
Is it too early to get excited about him? Yes, but there is no reason to not have hope he will develop quickly.
Jake Allen is still the goaltender for the immediate future. However, if Husso can keep up performances like we saw in that particular game, his time in the lower levels of North American hockey may be short.
You can never have enough goaltending talent. The Blues have a history of injury and disappointment at the position, so having a player that is capable of good things in the future is a great thing.
Husso won’t see the NHL this season unless things go horribly wrong with season ending injuries. He has a solid game though. If the culture shock doesn’t affect him, he will be hard to hold back.
The Blues will continue the tournament over the next few days. They play Columbus’ prospects on Saturday, September 17 and will wrap up group play on Monday, September 19. If results go their way, they would play in the title game.
Coaches are clearly more concerned with individual performances than wins at this point. However, winning usually breeds good performances.
Husso came up with that in the first game. Now his teammates need to step up and come up with their own.