Jordan Kyrou: Iron Man

On a team with tough players like Colton Parayko and Jordan Binnington, why does Jordan Kyrou deserve the "Iron Man Award" for the 2023-24 St. Louis Blues? In addition to setting career bests for games played and time on ice, Kyrou overcame mental and emotional adversity to lead the Blues in scoring.
Jordan Kyrou celebrates during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks
Jordan Kyrou celebrates during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

On a recent episode of the Note News Podcast, Alec Gau and I evaluated the individual performance of various St. Louis Blues players. We considered which players would receive awards like Most Improved, Biggest Surprise, and, of course, the highly-coveted and not-at-all-made-up "Iron Man Award."

As it sounds, we intended for this award to be given to the Blues player who most exhibited the qualities of Iron Man, the Marvel superhero, throughout the long and arduous NHL season. The Usual Suspects came to mind.

The Usual Suspects

Jordan Binnington played 57 games last season (6th most in the NHL for a goaltender) and faced 1786 shots against (4th most in the NHL). In the end, the Blues were in the playoff race because of Binnington.

Colton Parayko was another solid candidate. The fan-favorite defenseman played all 82 games, with an average of 23 minutes and 52 seconds on the ice per game - the most of any Blues skater. Beyond that, Parayko blocked 218 shots, the most in the entire National Hockey League. Ouch.

Jordan Kyrou: Iron Man

However, one surprising player came to mind - one who we eventually chose as the winner of the "Iron Man Award" - Jordan Kyrou. There are mixed feelings about Jordan Kyrou among St. Louis Blues fans, and there are some fair critiques to be made of his performance in the 2023-24 NHL season.

But hear me out for a moment. What makes Marvel’s Iron Man a superhero is not that he is confident, or that he makes a lot of money (characteristics that also describe Jordan Kyrou). It isn’t even strength.

What makes Iron Man a superhero is his ability to adapt - quickly - to adversity and difficult situations. He may get knocked down, but he will get back up with a plan to stay standing. This is the most important characteristic that Jordan Kyrou showed last season.

Concerning Kyrou’s measurable performance, he played all 82 games in 2023-24, a first for his career. He averaged 18 minutes and 20 seconds on the ice per game, the third most among Blues forwards, and he led the team in scoring with 31 goals.

However, the story of Jordan Kyrou’s season transcends stats and numbers. He overcame mental and emotional adversity, in addition to physical struggles.

I’ve got no comment. He’s not my coach anymore,” Kyrou said, following Craig Berube’s mid-season  dismissal, trying to convey his desire to focus on the future.

Blues fans reacted by booing Kyrou on home ice during a game against the Ottawa Senators on December 14, 2023. This brought Kyrou to tears, and he said “I love playing here so it’s just tough to hear the fans booing me there.

This series of events would be enough to shake any player’s confidence. But how did Kyrou respond? With a goal and 2 assists in their very next game, a 4-3 OT win against the Dallas Stars.

He didn’t stop there. After scoring only 5 goals through the first 29 games of the season, Kyrou scored 26 in the next 53 games.

This is the adaptability and strength, shown in the face of adversity, that earned Kyrou the "Iron Man Award," and this is exactly the development and growth you want to see in a budding young star.