Good news has been hard to come by for the St. Louis Blues in 2021. It feels like they have lost a player almost every game, even if that’s not exactly true.
The reality is, regardless of when or how many players the Blues have lost, they have lost a lot of man power. Only four forwards have played every single game in 2021.
If you want to be generous, Mike Hoffman has played every game for the Blues he’s been available. He missed one game due to visa issues.
When you think about your top nine forwards being your best and most talented, that’s half or more that have missed significant time. St. Louis has soldiered on during that, but they’re wearing thin.
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Thankfully, help is on the way. According to multiple sources, Tyler Bozak will be available for the Blues next game.
As of writing, that game is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17. However, after having one game against the Los Angeles Kings postponed due to them being stuck in a blizzard in Denver, there is no concrete answer as to when they’ll get out.
Regardless, this is nothing but good for the Blues. Even if it takes him a minute to get up to speed, the Blues need their depth up the middle.
It’s great to have depth on the wing and defense, but more often that not, champions are solid at center. Even when Bozak is moved to the wing during open play, he provides faceoff wins, which provide the team more offensive opportunities.
Oskar Sundqvist has done a phenomenal job in his various roles further up the lineup. However, if the Blues can transition him to a wing spot or even back to the fourth line as a center, they are that much better off.
Sundqvist is getting beaten up playing so many minutes because he plays a warrior style. If St. Louis can limit his minutes for his own good, not because he is undeserving, that gives him more energy and health for a playoff run when you need that style.
Bozak is not known for scoring, but he’s a dependable contributor. In two full seasons with the Blues, he had 13 goals in each.
He won’t get you a ton of goals, but he has a knack for scoring big ones. He’s only failed to win well more than 50% of his draws in one NHL season.
Bozak is a dependable shootout participant. His wife is also a fun follow on social media.
Any way you slice it, the Blues will be better when he returns. He does not bring the excitement of a Vladimir Tarasenko, but he brings a calming presence and fresh legs, if nothing else.
Hopefully this is the first sign that the Blues are heading toward health. They’re halfway done with 2021 and they can be a scary team once again if they get everyone back.