The St. Louis Blues are not in desperate need of an enforcer type. Still, any time you lose a player, you wonder what might have been.
The St. Louis Blues traded Ryan Reaves away back in the summer of 2017. The team seemed to be indicating they were switching their focus to matching the speed around the league and abandoning the traditional enforcer role.
This idea was furthered with the subsequent draft pick acquired in that trade. While not a blazing skater, Klim Kostin was definitely quicker than Reaves.
However, the Blues then made a puzzling move a year later. St. Louis brought in former Los Angeles Kings forward Jordan Nolan.
Nolan was more an agitator than pure fighter like Reaves. However, in terms of offensive production, it was a wash or maybe even a step down as Reaves had improved his game in recent time.
Regardless, it was an odd move. It seemed somewhat reactionary as the Blues had gotten pushed around a little the previous season. Despite having 94 points, they missed the playoffs.
In the end, it was nothing more than a depth signing and to help the team’s minor league team. Nolan would only play 14 total NHL games with the Blues, all coming in 2018-19. He would not get his name on the Stanley Cup an additional time since he did not play for St. Louis in the playoffs.
In 2019-20, Nolan spent the entire season in the AHL. He was still seen as valuable to the franchise, however, since he served as captain of the San Antonio Rampage, the Blues affiliate at the time.
Despite the leadership provided, the Blues did not renew Nolan when his contract came up. Not wanting to hang up the skates yet, at just 31, Nolan signed with the Wilkes Barre Penguins, the AHL affiliate of Pittsburgh.
Still, his NHL career seems to be done. While Pittsburgh would still have the option to call Nolan up, he is not actually their player. His contract is solely with Wilkes Barre at the moment.
As far as his Blues career, while we wish him the best, there just was not much to speak of. He hustled and worked his tail off while up here, but never stood out, even as an enforcer type.
He was far better served in the AHL and his talent shown better at that level too. Nolan scored 11 goals and had 27 points in 60 games with San Antonio last season.
For his sake, I hope Nolan can return to the NHL for at least one more run. That seems unlikely and definitely won’t be with the Blues as his blip of a run with St. Louis ended rather silently.
One thing I did learn from this that I did not know prior. Nolan is the son of former NHL coach Ted Nolan.