St. Louis Blues goaltender and pending unrestricted free agent Ville Husso is entering an important stretch of games while he fights for more playing time.
The St. Louis Blues drafted Ville Husso 94th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, but the Finland native hasn’t been able to settle into his own as an NHL goalie. However, with his contract up at the end of the year, it’s imperative that he plays well when he is called upon.
Husso, to no fault of his own, was thrown into a weird situation in 2020. The team was constantly in strict COVID protocols, and they were only playing seven other teams in the league all year last season.
Once Husso got over the fear of the game’s first shot, he performed pretty well in net for the Blues. However, with a condensed schedule, St. Louis was forced to play more games in a smaller window of time, so he was called upon more.
He finished last season with a 9-6-1 record that saw his save percentage sit at .893 and his goals-against average settle at 3.20. Points in 10 of 16 games he started is encouraging, though the underlying numbers are not impressive.
However, at times last season, the Blues were not impressive either, and it showed with a quick four-game exit in the first round of the playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche.
This season, Husso has been more impressive, and the team around him has also played remarkably better. He has just seven games under his belt this season and has been in COVID protocol for a good portion of the year.
In his seven games in 2021, he has a 3-2-1 record with a .927 save percentage and has allowed 2.46 goals per game. He hasn’t appeared in a game since December 7, a win against the Florida Panthers.
He came out of the gate hot this year, earning a shutout victory over the Los Angeles Kings in his season debut on October 25, and followed that performance by winning two of his next three games. However, he hasn’t allowed fewer than three goals in a game since a win against the Sharks on November 18.
Husso, just 26 years old, is an unrestricted free agent after the year. At the moment, it doesn’t appear that he has done enough to earn a contract as an NHL starter next season, so making sure his numbers improve is critical for his career.
The Blues had a variety of goalies step in while Husso was in COVID protocol, highlighted by Charlie Lindgren. However, with Husso’s age and potential, it was an obvious choice to send Lindgren to the Taxi Squad when Husso was healthy.
St. Louis hosts the Capitals on Friday before the Dallas Stars come to town on Sunday. The Blues don’t have a back-to-back until January 23 and 24, so expect Husso to see action against the Capitals or the Stars.