It was a little shocking when Sammy Blais did not really make the regular team roster to start 2021. You can argue he did, but if Mike Hoffman‘s visa had gone through, Blais would have been on the taxi squad.
Nevertheless, Blais has proven to be a solid NHL player. He’s kind of a jack-of-all-trades.
Despite coming into the pro ranks with offensive promise, he’ll never score 30 goals at the NHL level – he may never score 20 for that matter – but he provides offensive possibility, which is still attractive. Even if you consider someone a third or fourth line player, if they have the ability to score, that’s checking a box that was not the case in days past.
You don’t expect Blais to score 15 or more goals, but you feel like he could if he got hot. You never thought someone like Kelly Chase, Tony Twist, Bob Bassen or even Ryan Reaves would score that many, even in their best year (Bassen did have 16 one season, but I digress).
Blais has enough talent, mixed with defensive ability, that he’s played as high as the second line. He just needs more consistent playing time.
Would the Blues be better off without Blais? Absolutely not.
He’s the kind of glue player that you want on your team. He’ll nab you important goals, proven by being one of the few to score against the Colorado Avalanche in the 2021 playoffs. He’ll also crush his opponents.
Blais has had 90 or more hits the last three seasons, despite never playing more than 40 games. He also added three points and 70 hits in 15 playoff games during the Stanley Cup year.
However, he’s not irreplaceable. Someone like Klim Kostin has just as much offensive potential and perhaps more. A guy like Ivan Barbashev is just as willing to put people into the wall, just with a little less force perhaps.
The Blues would free up $1.5 million in cap space if Blais was taken. His departure would also open a spot for someone like Kostin or even Jake Neighbors, if either are ready in 2021-22.