The St. Louis Blues ended their season far too early for any of our liking. It has been several weeks without any ice at the Enterprise Center, but that doesn’t mean all the Blues have been away from the rink.
A handful of Blues players traveled to Finland to take part in the 2023 IIHF World Championships. Though some did not have any success, some did – namely the Canadians.
St. Louis had three Canadians, one American and a Finn playing in the tournament. Joel Hofer, Sammy Blais, Jake Neighbours, Scott Perunovich and Kasperi Kapanen played in this international tournament.
The Canadians ended up taking the gold in a slightly odd tournament. While the Germans have been getting better, they’re still a partially unexpected finalist.
The Canadians did their job though, defeating Germany 5-2 in the gold medal game. Blais scored two goals in that game, including the game winner, giving him six goals and eight points for the tournament. He was the 15th highest scorer.
Neighbours finished with one goal and five points. Hofer saw action in parts of four games, got one win and finished with 92.5 save percentage and a 1.46 goals against.
Kapanen played pretty well too. He finished with three goals and five points in eight games, however his team failed to make the medal round.
Perunovich continued his battle back to relevancy from injuries with a solid outing. The defender had a goal and eight points and was a plus-6.
Blais continued production gives us hope that he can continue the pace he was on once arriving in St. Louis. I doubt he will put up those types of numbers across 82 games, but even if he can be a 15-goal scorer, the Blues will benefit.
Kapanen will need to find more consistency. Three goals in 10 games is good, but that translates to roughly 24ish goals in an NHL season. That’s respectable, but hopefully he can be a smidgen higher.
Hofer showed well in the NHL in 2022-23. In a perfect world, the Blues won’t need to rely on him for much more than giving Jordan Binnington rest. We all know how that goes, however.
Last, but not least, the patience is very thin with Perunovich from Blues fans. It’s not even that anyone doubts his talent, but given the poor state of the team’s defensive ability in 2022-23, he doesn’t move the needle.
Perunovich, even when healthy, is just more of the same. He’s a good puck mover and skater, but inside his own zone he gives everyone reason to worry, the same as just about everyone who played on the blue line last season.
Nevertheless, while the World Championships are somewhat of an afterthought for most fans, it is nice to have your guys play, play well and also win. It would have been nice for the United States to medal, but when you cannot beat Latvia – sorry, not sorry – then maybe you didn’t deserve it anyway.