2 Players Who’ve Justified St. Louis Blues’ Faith and 1 Who Hasn’t

Mar 19, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug (47) kicks his helmet after receiving a game misconduct against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug (47) kicks his helmet after receiving a game misconduct against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues have failed to keep their 2019 Stanley Cup steam intact over the last few seasons. The pandemic-shortened season, a flat salary cap, and lack of performance aided in a lot of roster turnover over the past three offseasons.

With the changing of the guard in the organization, the Blues have put trust in many players with long-term contracts. There are many that have paid off for the team and many who have already failed the team with poor performances over recent years.

However, there are players like Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou who are just entering their new contracts with the club, so it is unfair to jump to judgment about the team’s young core.

However, two players have rewarded the St. Louis Blues after general manager Doug Armstrong handed them long-term contracts. While many players have not lived up to expectations, there is one player in particular whose contract makes fans’ heads scratch.

Brandon Saad

The St. Louis Blues signed Brandon Saad to a five-year, $22.5 million contract in 2021 to be a top-6 forward for St. Louis. While he doesn’t look likely to play a significant role in the Blues top-6 this season, his contract has worked well for the team.

The long-time Chicago Blackhawk fixture was signed by St. Louis after one season with the Colorado Avalance. It was a big contract to hand out to someone who had only recorded 24 points the year before, and 33 points the season before.

However, Saad has come into the team and has immediately produced. In his first season with the team, the former second-round pick played in all but three games for St. Louis in the regular season and posted 24 goals and 25 assists.

He followed his stellar inaugural year with St. Louis by posting a 37-point season with the Blues last season. His goal-scoring took a bit of a dive in 2022-23, but it’s hard to find any player who did not have a disappointing 2022-23 campaign.

Saad will be 31 by the end of the 2023-24 season and will have a $4.5 million cap hit attached to him for the next two seasons, but if he continues his play, the team will be happy to have his contract on the books.

Pavel Buchnevich

Pavel Buchnevich has quickly become one of the best wingers in the NHL and a fan-favorite in St. Louis. Acquired from the New York Rangers for Sammy Blais and a second-round pick, Buchnevich was quickly awarded a four-year contract extension worth $5.8 million a season.

After not scoring more than 21 goals in a season in five years with the Rangers, Buchnevich netted a 30-goal season in his first year with the St. Louis Blues. He finished second on the team in goals and third in points in 2021-22.

With big expectations heading into the 2022-23 campaign, Buchnevich tallied 26 more scores with the Blues, the second-most he scored in a single season in his career.

He has slotted seamlessly with any line he plays on in St. Louis and is a great partner for Kyrou and Thomas on the team’s top line. He has back-to-back seasons in which he has scored eight powerplay goals and consistently plays upwards of 19 minutes a night.

The trade for the former third-round pick is becoming one of the best acquisitions of Armstrong’s career, and with just one season remaining on his contract, he needs to be the focus of the Blues’ future.

Torey Krug

Yes. I know you are surprised to see Torey Krug’s name pop up on this list. It has not worked out at all in St. Louis for the 32-year-old. Krug came in as the replacement for the team’s first Stanley Cup-winning captain, Alex Pietrangelo.

He was expected to be an upgrade from Pietrangelo offensively, and the Blues were prepared to take a bit of a hit defensively, just not as much as we have seen from Krug so far in his Blues career.

Krug signed a seven-year, $45.5 million deal after the Blues won the Cup in 2019. To say that he has not justified the team’s faith is a massive understatement. We have already seen the Blues try and move on from Krug, but his no-trade clause nixed any potential deal.

In three seasons with the Blues, Krug has played in 178 games, no more than 64 in a season. In those 178 games, the defenseman has recorded 107 points and just 18 goals.

He has had trouble staying on the ice for an entire season and has already had injury problems to begin the 2023-24 campaign. His full no-trade clause becomes a modified version starting in 2025-26.

Next. Predicted Starting Lineup For the St. Louis Blues Heading into 2023-24. dark

If the cap goes up like it is supposed to next season, then the contract for Krug won’t look as bad, but Armstrong and the Blues should continue searching for possible trade partners throughout the season.