The St. Louis Blues have had some players get some unexpected playing time in recent weeks. However, it has not been only because of injury.
The St. Louis Blues clearly had a very busy late last season and into the offseason. By that, we are not talking about preparing for the hockey season either.
Cue the 70’s porn music if you would. The Blues were apparently very busy making babies.
Jake Allen had a child during the season last year. Carl Gunnarsson had his first child this past week. There are a couple other Blues members with little ones on the way as well. On deck now, is Carter Hutton.
Hutton has left the team to be with his wife back in Ontario. So, all these babies have provided opportunities for other guys to step up.
Nate Prosser, an offseason signing, could not crack the Blues lineup until Gunnarsson missed a game to witness the birth of his baby. That same opportunity might come in the nets – it should anyway.
When Hutton left the Blues after facing the Carolina Hurricanes, the team called up Ville Husso. The Finnish phenom (hopefully) sat in as the backup to Allen for their game against Columbus.
Hutton’s wife had still not had the baby as of Sunday. So, Husso might stay in the NHL for at least another game.
The question is whether or not he will get to play. I say he should, but if he does it needs to be in a start. You don’t want him getting mop-up duty in the off chance that the Blues play poorly in one of their next two.
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St. Louis has two games coming up. They are going to face the LA Kings on October 30 and then the Philadelphia Flyers on November 2.
Either one would be a good chance to get Husso some action since they are both at home. The latter would be preferable due to the opponent.
Either game is alright since they are at home. Even if Husso fell behind, you won’t have the opposing crowd getting on his case. He could focus on his game and that alone.
You might not want to throw him to the wolves against the Kings though. Los Angeles is tied with the Blues on points with 19 and have played one fewer game. The Kings are scoring a lot (38 before the Blues’ clash) and keeping the puck out. That’s a tougher ask for a rookie.
The Flyers game would be a perfect spot. Let’s say Hutton has his baby on Monday. You give him a few days to stay with his wife and family as they get acclimated to the new addition.
You also show some confidence in Husso by handing him the proverbial ball and letting him know you believe in him enough to allow one of the league’s best backups to remain at home. That would definitely be a boost for a guy that is already playing well.
"“I thought he had an outstanding camp here,” coach Mike Yeo said to the Post-Dispatch Saturday. “I believe he’s been in three games down there (in San Antonio), but last night he was outstanding. Doug (Armstrong) was at the game; he got to watch him play live. He’s certainly deserving of this call-up and has a real bright future. Excited about him.”"
Husso has changed his fortunes quickly in the AHL. He got off to a slow start in San Antonio, giving up enough goals to inflate his goals against and put a big dent in his save percentage. He has improved to 2-1 now with a .927 save percentage.
By playing him against Philly, you also give him a better chance to settle in. Nothing against the Flyers – they have a decent squad. They are not a very hot team though, middling right around .500. They have scored as many as the Kings, but they also allow the opponent a lot, which gives the Blues more chances to get in front.
In the end, if you expect him to be an NHL goaltender, you should be alright with him playing in either game. You have to learn sometime and now would be a good time.
The team is playing well defensively. They are scoring enough goals to give Husso some support.
Gaining the experience would be invaluable as well. He is an up and coming prospect with a bright future. Even if it was only one game, you allow him to gain the confidence of playing at the highest level and take that back to the minors. It would be much more valuable to him than just thinking he only got brought up because someone was having a kid (even if that is the case).
We will see how things shake out. Chances are Hutton will return before any of this comes to pass. If not though, Husso should be rewarded with a little game time. It could pay dividends down the road.