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3 Blues that could surprise this season



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The St. Louis Blues clearly have a very talented squad in contention. But there are always surprise performances from the players every season. Last season, whether it was a surprise or not, Jordan Kyrou had an exceptional season. This article will focus on the good surprises and which players might bounce back from last season or break through this season.

1. Colton Parayko

You can watch that and think how much of a surprise Parayko could be, but with the way he has played since winning the Stanley Cup in 2019, it would be a surprise. After an eight-year extension, the Blues are banking on Parayko for a rebound season and a return to his former form. It’s a risky bet at eight, but it might be worth taking.

Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues (Jess starr/ The writers of hockey)

As is the case every season for Parayko, the key to his success almost always lies with his defense partner. When he was at his best he was paired with Jay Bouwmeester, especially in the 2019 Cup race. He played well with Marco Scandella before the bubble, but it seems to have run its course. I wonder if head coach Craig Berube pairs him up with a smaller defender like Torey Krug and see if there can be a spark in that.

The other main part of this prediction is betting on Parayko to be pretty healthy to play 65 games or more, which he has done in four of his six seasons. The two seasons he didn’t were the shortened pandemic seasons in 2019-2020 and 2020-21.

A surprise season for Parayko would be for his defensive prowess to get back into shape and score over 40 points in over 75 games. This would obviously be the best of times, but it is certainly not impossible. His first four seasons reflected some of those numbers, although that would be a step up from that.

2. Zach Sanford

The Blues’ most criticized player is clearly Sanford, and he has struggled to score goals at a steady pace since his 16-goal season in 2019-2020. He did all this damage in 2019-2020 in 58 games, playing with Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron.

Since then he has played in the last six and taken on a more defensive role. His current role as a third or fourth line defensive forward makes a lot of sense, but I think he might surprise some people this season.

Zach Sanford St. Louis Blues
Zach Sanford, Blues de Saint-Louis (Jess starr/ The writers of hockey)

If the Blues are able to bring Robert Thomas back with some sort of bridge deal, Sanford will likely be a winger on his line. With Thomas’ playing ability, I could see Sanford challenge for a 20-goal season.

People may read that previous sentence and think it’s crazy, but the ability is there; we have already seen it. Whether he’s playing with Thomas or Tyler Bozak as a center, he should produce better numbers than last season when he was moved to the roster.

Anyway, the Blues have decided to hang on to sanford for this season, and I expect his role to be in the final six. His value as a defensive forward is real, especially with his metrics from last season. Rotations are a problem, but I think he will improve in a consistent role.

3. City Husso

This is the most essential of all, as Husso needs a quality season to relieve Jordan Binnington.

The Blues are banking on Husso to be better than last season and to settle into an important role as a substitute. It could be a good bet, especially if the Blues’ defense improves its numbers.

City Husso St. Louis Blues
Ville Husso, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Keith Gillett / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images),

In 2020-21, you can point to nine of the 17 games he played where his numbers were less than adequate. There are also two teams that you can report that have had their way with him. The Vegas Golden Knights have scored 12 goals in three games and the Colorado Avalanche has scored six goals in two games against him.

On the other hand, he played well against the Minnesota Wild, going 3-0-0 and save percentage (SV%) of .934. The potential is there, and you can say that with last season’s schedule, the teams faced it too much and figured it out.

He needs to improve on his above average goals saved stat (GSAA), which was minus six last season. GSAA is a statistic that measures goals recorded considering its SV% and shots faced compared to the SV% league average on the same number of shots. He ranked 58th out of 70 qualified goalies, which is unacceptable.

We’ll also find out what the pressure will do to Husso because if he struggles. If he’s struggling, he probably won’t be there next season as a replacement.

Overall, the Blues need at least one of these players to surprise us for them to be successful. The main reason the Blues struggled last season was their inability to keep the puck out of their own net. And these three players affect goals against statistics with their defensive responsibilities. If they can do it, that alone may be enough to surprise us.