Australia native and St. Louis Blues forward Nathan Walker was granted an early Christmas present from the club before the team entered its mandatory break before Christmas.
Nathan Walker famously made history for the Washington Capitals during the 2017-18 season as the first Australian-born player to break into the NHL. However, he got a gift from St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube this Christmas season.
Instead of participating in the Blues final practice before the shutdown, Berube and the Blues allowed Walker to travel home to be with his family for an extra day in Australia.
This really isn’t news other than the fact that this gesture is well-deserved for a guy who has come in and solidified a depleted Blues forward core. Walker was called up under emergency circumstances after a handful of Blues players went on the COVID list.
In his first game, he netted a hat trick against the Detroit Red Wings on December 12 and has been one of the most recognizable players on the ice since then despite not scoring goals at a 3-goal/game pace.
So far, he has played in six games in 2021 and has netted points in just two of them, but still sits at five points this season. So for what Walker projects as a depth player on the Blues roster, Berube has no choice but to keep the Australian sensation in the lineup.
Whether or not he can stay in the lineup when the Blues get back to 100% remains to be seen and is likely a longshot. However, St. Louis had tremendous depth at the forward position, which has already been tested.
Even out of training camp, Walker was nowhere to be found in the Blues’ immediate plans to start the season, and despite his work so far this year, it appears unlikely that his role on the team when fully healthy.
Regardless, the St. Louis Blues allowing Walker to spend an extra day with the family is an excellent show of support for him and his family, even if some COVID precautions played a role in the decision to let him go.