2021 St Louis Blues MVP: Fan Edition

Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The St. Louis Blues are on their way to Minnesota for their winter classic game this Saturday. However, it’s time to cherish the ups and downs of 2021 before getting into that game because we are still in 2021 and take a look at the front-runners for team MVP.

The St. Louis Blues have been at the mercy of injuries and COVID-19 protocols all season. It’s been quite ridiculous actually just how little this team has played together. Rather it’s Brayden Schenn, Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, this team has yet to play as a whole.

Now, I know you may be thinking that isn’t true because they played together the first game of the season. If you think back to that game against the Avalanche, that isn’t actually true. The St. Louis Blues were without forward, Oskar Sundqvist that game. Even now, they are without James Neal, Robert Bortuzzo, and Brayden Schenn. Anyways, it’s time to look at the positive.

First, you could say the highlight of this season so far has been the fact that in spite of dealing with everything they have, they are finding ways to win. For example, taking down the Edmonton Oilers this past Wednesday. Most Importantly, I think it has to do with the depth.

2021 St Louis Blues MVP

A couple days ago I went to take a poll and I asked them the question;

“Who do you guys think is the 2021 St Louis Blues MVP?”

The amount of responses has been overwhelming. I felt like I should base this off the public opinion and that’s exactly what I plan to do! So in the following I will include quotes and reasoning behind each player.

Twitter Poll

A couple days ago I took to twitter and asked them who they thought the 2021 MVP was. The options I posted were:

  • Vladimir Tarasenko
  • Jordan Kyrou
  • Robert Thomas
  • Other

Vladimir Tarasenko received seven votes, Jordan Kyrou received one.

As you can tell by the number of votes, that twitter poll wasn’t very active, but good thing Facebook was.

Vladimir Tarasenko

Vladimir Tarasenko. Honestly, there is not enough good things to be said about him. After dealing with injuries, and then this crazy off-season, he’s found a way to get his career back on track.

Tarasenko has always been a Blues favorite, but this season is special. What he’s been able to do for this team in terms of his production- showing up and giving it his all, it’s fun to watch.

Right now he is a point per game player. That’s what makes him so special. He had 25 mentions in the 2021 MVP conversation. Here’s what some people said about him.

” Craziest thing to me is Chuckies numbers, even while the rest of the team was slim. But, for MVP as a whole, I think I have to go with 91. There’s been a lt that has impressed me so far with the team as a whole, but regardless of all the trade talk and whatnot, Vladi has really come through big. Looks like he is finally having fun again.” -Justin McClintok

“Tank Would be my pick as of this point in the season. If Kyrou would’ve stayed healthy and played well in the game he missed, I’d say it be a lot harder to pick.” -Tim Kontuk

“Vladi. Look how many line mates he’s had this year and he’s still a point per game guy. He’s proving all the Vladi haters wrong. Yes, he may be playing to get traded but, he’s playing awesome. He’s backchecking more than ever and his shoulder is looking great(Knock on wood). He has consistently been in the lineup even with all the covid situations and injury situations.” -Paul Graham

Pavel Buchnevich

Vladimir Tarasenko won the 2021 St. Louis Blues MVP with 25 votes. Pavel Buchnevich came in a close second with 24 votes- Deservingly so.

Pavel Buchnevich who had quite the off-season from being traded from the New York Rangers to the St. Louis Blues and then getting a long-term extension. It’s crazy .

“Buchevich is the first to come to mind. He’s carried this team through so many line changes and has proved himself adaptable to all situations. I’d be hard pressed to find anyone on our team making as much consistent contributions – assists/goals/big energy when we’re lacking. He’s our secret weapon.” -Kelly Jurotich

“Buchnevich hands down. Saad was a tier 2 that is playing like a tier 1. Army has that magic just like when we grabbed David Perron. Vladi earns an honorable mention as does Faulk for being a rock back there. All this despite my favorite is the most versatile #49.” -James Kenneth

“Buchnevich. He’s been a game changer. If it was pure excitement…then it’s Kyrou.” -Jason Lankford

Other Players

After Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich, it’s was quite the drop off for votes. I’m assuming it would’ve been closer had there not been as many injuries as there were, but nonetheless, let’s take a look at the honorable mentions.

Jordan Kyrou: seven votes

Ivan Barbashev: three votes

Justin Faulk: Three votes

Robert Thomas: two votes

Brandon Saad: two votes

Craig Berube: two votes

Charlie Lindgren: one vote

Doug Armstrong: One vote

My Vote for St Louis Blues MVP

The St. Louis Blues are in a great spot after the first half of the season. Somehow, despite the number of injuries they have faced, they’ve continued finding ways to win. Right now, they are in first in the central division. Ahead of Minnesota, Colorado, Nashville, Blackhawks, well everyone in the central.

Why is that? We’ll it’s easy to say that it should be the coach for being able to make things happen. Could be Doug Armstrong because he assembled a terrific team. However, my pick is Vladimir Tarasenko.

Going into the season, it was hard to see a good outcome to this season wit Tarasenko on the roster. That sentence is not to be taken as I didn’t want him here, because I did. I wanted him here. However, he didn’t want to be here. That is what scared me.

Looking at what’s happening now, I don’t think anyone can tell me that if Tarasenko was gone, that we’d be doing as well as we are. I just don’t think that’s realistic. He’s averaging a point per game and has been a great leader.

I’ve been to multiple games this season and I pointed it out to my friend that- every single time the Blues are about to take the ice, there is always one player standing there first. Getting his teammates shin pad taps, chest bumps, and helping his teammates get ready to play. Any guess who it is? that’s right! Vladi.

In my opinion, he’s been the Blues MVP this season for sure. Once a Blue always a Blue, always a Blue.

St. Louis Blues: Injury Updates That You Need to Know About

The St. Louis Blues are back and practicing. After getting a chance to take a break and recover, there is a lot of new updates.

The St. Louis Blues are officially getting back to work after having an extended period of time off. After the National Hockey League was forced to postpone games, it was only a matter of time before they delayed all. Which, quite frankly, benefited the Blues big time.

With Christmas break only a couple days away, the NHL and NHLPA made an agreement to give the players some extra time off. With teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, and Carolina Hurricanes having to get games constantly postponed, it was hard to see the end of the road. They decided it was time to let everything rest and give the players some time off.

Now, everything is starting back up and teams are starting to get back to work. Including, but not limited to, your St. Louis Blues.

The St. Louis Blues are back tomorrow against the Edmonton Oilers and there is some great news to go along with hockey being back.

The Bad News

The St. Louis Blues, before getting a break, were playing without: James Neal, Klim Kostin, David Perron, Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, Oskar Sundquvist, Brayden Schenn, Jake Walman, and Ville Husso. As you can probably infer, the Blues needed some time to rest, badly. When you are without that many key players, it’s hard to go out there and compete game in-game out. But they did.

Unfourtantley, there is more bad news to talk about before getting too much further into the article. It was reported by the St. Louis Blues that they had added James Neal, Dakota Joshua, Robert Bortuzzo, and Ivan Barbashev, to COVID protocol.

Ivan Barbashev was having one of his best seasons with Russian line-mates Pavel Buchenvich and Vladimir Tarasenko. Now he’s out for the next couple games along with three other Blues.

Furthermore, it was reported by Craig Berube today that center, Brayden Schenn is not quite ready to return. He did reiterate himself to say that he is progressing and could be back soon.

Additionally, he later went on to talk about goalie, Ville Husso. He told reported after the practice today that Husso is not ready to return either and Charlie Lindgren will serve as the backup goalie against the Oilers.

I know that seeing that many names out is discouraging for tomorrow, but I promise there is good news. So without further a due, let’s talk good news:

The Good News

The St. Louis Blues had their first practice earlier this morning and there were a lot of good reports. Lou Korac, who covers the St. Louis Blues for NHL.com, reported that Jordan Kyrou, David Perron, Klim Kostin, and Robert Thomas should be back for the game tomorrow against the Oilers.

Having those four Blues back gives them the depth and choices that they were once lacking. Not to mention as far as good news goes, Oskar Sundquvist could be back tomorrow against the Oilers as well. He cleared COVID protocol today and was confirmed as a possibility tomorrow night.

Head coach, Craig Breube stated that Sunny could play, but they said that they wanted to see how tomorrow’s morning skate goes.

In conclusion, the St. Louis Blues have things looking up for them. If everything goes as planned, and if nothing too unexpected happens, the Blues could be in for a great game tomorrow.

Vladimir Tarasenko Update

The Vladimir Tarasenko trade talks have simmered down recently, but that doesn’t mean that something won’t happen. The former star and the Blues have unfortunately made their relationship un-mendable leaving Tarasenko, and the Blues organization, in a less that ideal spot. It started with the shoulder injuries that he previously sustained however, it ended when the organization wanted a list of teams he’d be willing to go to. There is a lot of points that I didn’t touch up on, if you want to read about the other points I missed, you can go read the article link I’ll paste at the bottom of this article but for now I just want to talk about the options still available to the Blues.

Vladimir Tarsenko’s injury history has scared many teams away however, knowing the potential he has to become that player he used to be has kept teams interested. From multiple articles and research done, it appears the main candidates are the Islanders, and the Devils.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils have been making a big stride this off-season with the signing of Dougie Hamilton, Tomas Tatar, but still could use more offense. Right now they have a solid top six defense, but their offensive lines are fairly weak. Adding a player with the talent of Tarasenko could be vital given their current situation.

Looking at what Tarasenko would offer them is going to be the best argument a person could make, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. To anyone who follows the NHL, they know that Tarasenko isn’t the same star he was, that is clear however, there is more to it than that. The big reasoning behind Taraenko’s decline as a player is due to the injuries he’s sustained in the past couple seasons, and the fact he hasn’t had time to fully heal. Should he heal and be 100%, he could come back and be a top player in the NHL in no time.

The Devils as I stated above have a good situation on the defense, but are looking to obtain some stars on their offensive lines. Tarasenko, when healthy, could easily become their best player and be a player that can help them win. The depth on their offensive lines needs to be considered as well, but being able to gather a player like Tarasenko gives you another option while the players in the AHL develop for another year or two.

Not saying that Tarasenko makes them a competitor this year, but with his help, they could try making a run sooner rather than later.

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are close to getting to the Stanley Cup but need another addition to their offense. With that said, there are a few names that should be considered, but the cheapest and the best available at this point is, Vladimir Tarasenko.

The Islanders are obviously so close to making it to the Stanley Cup after losing game seven to the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0. Being as close as they are, they need to find a way to add another superstar that can help put the puck in the goal for them. Prior to the off-season, I considered them a contender for both Sam Rhinehart and Jack Eichel, but after Rhinehart was traded, and not much on the Eichel front, Tarasenko is the best available option. Being able to tag Barzal and Tarasenko on a line together could be incredibly dangerous looking forward.

The Islanders have been partially linked to Tarasenko for most of the off-season, and given the lack of cap space for the Blues, they have to get rid of his contract. Islanders who seem almost excited to get Tarasenko seem like the best opportunity for the Blues. The amount they’d get in return isn’t going to be much, but would help the Blues clear some cap space in order to not keep them as tight financially as they currently are.

Vladimir Tarasenko’s value

The former Blues star had requested a trade roughly about a month ago, but at this time, he is still a St. Louis Blue. There are a lot of question circling around the Blues fan base, but it’s hard to sum it up into just one thing. As just about everyone knows, Tarasenko has been battling injuries for the last couple years which has depleted his value tremendously. He has battled three shoulder surgeries that has really de-railed his career from stardom to a decent second line wing.

Come the start of the offseason, the Blues were exploring trade possibilities however, it’s a different story when the player demands to be traded. After The Athletics, Jeremy Rutherford did some digging, he reported that Tarasenko’s reasoning behind requesting a trade was plain and simple: He was unhappy with the medical care he received from the Blues staff. However, looking at where he is coming from, it’s hard not to say he’s completely in the right.

After re-injuring his shoulder, he was sent to see the Blues doctors to diagnose to problem in which he opted to have surgery. Prior to re-injuring his shoulder, and before rejoining the team in the Edmonton bubble, he complained about discomfort in his shoulder. He believed that they had waited to long to do anything about the injury which resulted in him having to get yet another surgery. When he found out about having to get yet another shoulder surgery, and his unpleasantness with how the medical staff treated him, he decided to get it done with the doctors at Stedman.

Going into this season, he felt there was no trust left between him and the organization which resulted in even more problems. Given his performance during the regular season, he was then given the role of playing the net on the power play which didn’t sit well with him. Although, that reason was a factor in him requesting a trade, he also was not happy when he was not given the captain badge to start the season. Given everything he’d given to the organization, he was not happy that he didn’t receive the captain badge which in other terms, “sunk the boat”.

What is taking so long?

When it comes to trading away a player like Tarasenko there is going to be a lot of arguments within the trade talks. Tarasenko is a former star, and despite the injuries, he still has the ability to be that player. With that being said, he hasn’t proven in two years that he can stay healthy and be the same player that he once was. So do you trade him on the value of his past, and his name? Do you trade him to his most recent performance? Or do you trade him on what he can do should he get healthy? That’s where the problem lays.

Tarasenko came into the league and immediately made an impact on the Blues organization. The Blues had been looking to find a player who could produce the same way that Brett Hull did in the 1990s, but there was no luck until Tarasenko came around. Although Tarasenko didn’t put up the same number of points that Hull did, he was the first player since Hull that could put up 40 goal seasons. It was that talent and ability that ended up transpiring and inspiring so many fans in St. Louis. He was a leader to the Blues locker room, and if he felt that his injuries should’ve received more attention, then that’s the case. However, the bridge is burned and it’s time to move on.

Looking at where trade talks could go from here in their current state, it’s unclear. Once again it’s been conflicting in the Blues front office as they want to ensure they get value back for him, but his name isn’t on the same pedestal that it use to be. Jeremy Rutherford released an article that stated that one of the hold up’s was in fact the asking price however, there is still a lot of problems that shouldn’t be dismissed.

Tarasenko was left unprotected in the expansion draft, and when he wasn’t selected, many teams felt that was a sign that he shouldn’t even be worth their time at all. The thought that they can go out and sign a player in free agency that is going to cost them a lot less and no assets seems like the direction most teams went. There is supposedly a couple teams that are still interested, but after the expansion draft, most of the teams that were previously interested are no longer.

Did their Plan Backfire?

The Blues are currently in a situation that, if what I heard was right, backfired on them. Armstrong has his back against the wall and is trying to find his way out with no escape. It seemed given all the rumors and talk amongst people that are connected that they were looking to wait out the free agents in hope of raising Tarasenko’s draft stock, that is not the case.

Tarasenko, as I stated above, has had a rough road throughout the past couple seasons that he hasn’t quite bounced back from. However, I believe that Armstrong was waiting out the top free agents in order to take advantage of the Tarasenko name. After Ovechkin re-signed, Schwartz signed, Landeskog signed, there were not many names out there that were better than Tarasenko, and Armstrong was planning on capitalizing on that fact. However, after most of the free agents have gone off the board, it’s been coming to the attention of people that it had the opposite affect. With the asking price of Tarasenko being too high, teams went all in on the first day of free agency to replace the holes on their team.

There are still a couple names available including one of the top names in free agency, Brandon Saad. Saad was one of the names I was hoping at the start of free agency the Blues would target, but after doing some digging prior to this article, the Blues weren’t even interested in the winger it appears as they made no contact with him. The St. Louis Blues had the ability to re-sign Mike Hoffman, and Jaden Schwartz to help fill out the wing depth, but they didn’t. On top of not re-signing anyone from the Blues that could make an impact, they didn’t even go after anyone valuable today. However, one thing came clear thanks to free agency and that is: What team is most likely to land Tarasenko?

Could the Islanders land Tarasenko?

There were a lot of signings made yesterday that sent a lot of very good players to better opportunities. However, there were only two teams that didn’t make any form of a transaction yesterday: The St. Louis Blues and the New York Islanders.

This past season was a odd to say the least given what had happened the year before. The NHL was put into the bubble due to COVID restrictions which resulted in players having to bounce back quicker than normal. Hockey is an very physical sports that leads to a lot of injuries already, so having only a couple months to bounce back from those injuries was going to be difficult. Regardless of circumstance, there were a few teams that were able to shine this past season, like the New York Islanders.

The Islanders came so close to being in the Stanley Cup but fell short in Game seven against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Islanders, being as close as they were, were going to be going all in on adding a couple elite players to help get their team to the Stanley Cup this next season, and it appears that they think Tarasenko could be the key. Despite the tendency to get hurt, in game four against the Avalanche, Tarasenko was by far and away the best player on the ice for the Blues. It was also reported by a person close to Tarasenko that he was playing while still recovering. However, it was also reported that he feels that Tarasenko’s shoulder has never been stronger and he said that he is 100%.

Being able to obtain Tarasenko and have him with Mathew Barzal, and Anders Lee could be a very scary and dangerous line. However, looking at some mock trades, Doug Armstrong will have to determine if he believes this team can win a Stanley Cup or if it’s time to start a re-build in hopes of competing again after 4-5 years. Matt O’Leary of the Eyes on Isles wrote up a mock draft in which it would send Tarasenko to the Islanders and in return the Blues would receive a 2022 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick, and RHD prospect, Bode Wilde. If the Blues believe in their young players enough to give them a chance, and in the meantime word on developing a good prospect pool, they could find themselves back to competing again in the matter of only a couple years.

Outlook for the Blues: Post Landeskog Signing

The St. Louis Blues are looking to find their way back to the Stanley Cup, and that starts with building a team capable of making it there. The Blues have a tough division, and it’s going to be difficult for them to make it back, but not impossible. Armstrong is a heavy hitter in the off-season and will not accept a team that looses and he will do everything in his power to get them to the Stanley Cup. With that being said, the Blues didn’t make it there this past season, and Armstrong has already made one significant move, and he’s not done.

The St. Louis Blues are looking to obtain some offensive talent this offseason and there was one name that many Blues fans were hopping for: Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog is a veteran presence that the Blues are currently lacking, and even more importantly is a terrific goal scorer. With the uncertainty of Tarasenko, and Schwartz gone, the Blues are in a need to find some players on the wing. However, it was reported late last night that Landeskog is returning to the Colorado Avalanche on a 8yr/$56mil contract. So with Landeskog off the board, what could the Blues do this off-season?

It was reported that Armstrong had made offers to the free agents: Kyrou, Sanford, Thomas, Joshua, and Barbashev, but there was one name that I felt should’ve been mentioned on that list: Mike Hoffman. Last off-season the Blues were able to get Hoffman very cheap due to it being a late signing, and it was a valuable signing at that. Hoffman was big part to the Blues this past season given his power play ability, and the ability to be a sniper along the perimeter. It was reported earlier today that Hoffman is a contingency plan for the Blues depending on the situation with Tarasenko. The Blues have reportedly offered Hoffman a contract, but should Tarasenko get moved, they will look to bring him on for a long term contract. With that being said, why hasn’t Tarasenko been moved yet?

After talking back and forth with some people in the Blues community, It was agreed upon that the Landeskog signing actually helps the Blues more than it hurts. Now you’re probably asking how that could possibly be when Landeskog was the main target for the Blues, but it helps more than think. With Landeskog off the board, Ovechkin off the board, and Schwartz off the board, there are not many forwards left that teams will be able to target. Looking at some of the names that are still available via trade or free agency, the only player that is arguably better than Tarasenko would be Jack Eichel. Once Jack Eichel is moved, Tarasenko’s value will be the highest around the league in which Armstrong will be able to get the most in return for him at that point in time. Once Tarasenko is moved, and his contract is off the books, he will be able to officially get started in free agency and filling out the team and making trades.