St. Louis Blues: On The Tenth Day Of Bluesmas 2017

CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 20: Garnet Hathaway
CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 20: Garnet Hathaway /

The St. Louis Blues have been a mixed bag when it comes to playing their rookies. Much if it depends on who the coaches are, but some of it actually does depend on the player.

On the 10th day of Bluesmas, my true Blues gave to me, ten games for Ivan Barbashev, nine forwards clicking, a coach that understands how to utilize younger players, seven retired numbers, six goose eggs laid, five scorers scoring, fourth best defending, three reinforced skates, two great goaltenders and an Adidas sweater under the tree. Despite thoughts to the contrary, the St. Louis Blues are giving this particular player a fair shot.

There is a common misconception that the Blues do not give a fair shake to some of their incoming rookies. Most of that is a holdover from the previous coach. There are still some instances where Mike Yeo makes head scratching roster moves, but for the most part, he has actually given guys their fair shot.

That is true in the case of Ivan Barbashev. It might not seem like it, but the numbers actually do bear out that thought.

Barbashev has played in 10 games in 2017-18 so far. That might not sound like a lot, but it is actually tied with Sammy Blais for the most out of any Blues prospect.

It is actually tied with Carter Hutton and Jay Bouwmeester as well, though you could clearly make the case that injury and position have affected their games played.

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Even if you disagree that 10 games is a good sample size, it becomes harder to argue with some of the other numbers afforded to Barbashev. He’s actually getting a large amount of ice time, all things considered.

Past coaches would have stuck him and other prospects on the fourth line, limiting their ice time. Instead, Barbashev and his brethren have played further up the lineup.

Through 10 games, Barbashev has received an average of 10:36 of ice time per game. That’s more than any of the fourth line players, more than Magnus Paajarvi, who plays regularly, and not too far behind Patrik Berglund.

On top of that, he is getting a good look each shift. Barbashev is getting an average of 44 seconds per shift. That ranks 14th on the team and is actually longer than some of the top name guys.

Clearly, you can make the case that some of that is due to getting stuck on the ice in the defensive zone. However, it is not as though the staff is calling him off the ice early.

Barbashev is getting his looks. He is just not doing enough with those games and minutes yet.

Through 10 games, he has no points. He’s a minus-3.

Barbashev’s Corsi ratings are under the league average. His point offensive point share is a negative, meaning he’s often costing the Blues points instead of causing them.

Barbashev can and hopefully will be a steady player as he continues to progress in his career. He is only 22, so it is not as though he is lost from here on out.

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However, his numbers through 10 games actually prove that he’s not getting the job done right now. The Blues are not in a position to keep hoping.

Whether it is rookies or veterans, they need guys that will do the job. Right now, he’s getting a fair shot and not doing enough with it.