Home Blues Robert Thomas of the Blues becomes a star: ‘He’s up there for sure’

Robert Thomas of the Blues becomes a star: ‘He’s up there for sure’

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Before every period Robert Thomas starts, the Blues center skates over to his goalie and taps him.

“It’s just something I’ve always done,” he said.

Thursday in San Jose, Thomas rushed to Jordan Binnington to perform this ritual so quickly he would have given teammate Jordan Kyrou a run for his money as the NHL’s fastest skater.

“He was late,” Binnington said.

“Yeah, I was late,” Thomas admitted before coming up with an excuse. “Drew (Blues assistant equipment manager Andrew Dvorak) was very slow to change my stick before the period. So I had to walk the boots a bit.

Thomas was able to cross the ice in time for the faceoff, which he won, then helped the Blues wrap up a 3-1 victory over San Jose, which was their 14th consecutive game with a point (12- 0-2).

Thomas scored his 20th goal of the season, which turned out to be the game winner, and he also extended his personal points streak to 15 games. He had 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) in those 15 games, giving him 75 points this season, just behind Vladimir Tarasenko.

The night it was confirmed that the Blues will face Minnesota in the first round of the NHL playoffs, Thomas further confirmed that he was a star in the making in this league.

“He’s up there for sure,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “He’s a hell of a player, a very good player.”

On one of his team-high five shots on Thursday, just 31 seconds from the start of the second period, Thomas joined the Blues’ illustrious 20-goal club.

Thomas became the eighth player on the roster to hit the plateau this season, including Tarasenko (33), Pavel Buchnevich (29), David Perron (26), Jordan Kyrou (25), Brayden Schenn (24), Ivan Barbashev ( 24) and Brandon Saad (22).

“Yeah, definitely a cool personal achievement, but see you next game,” Thomas said, sticking to his modest responses on the subject.

Speaking of advancing to the next game, Thomas’ 15-game point streak, the longest active streak in the NHL, has climbed higher in the Blues’ record books. He is now tied for fourth with Adam Oates and Pierre Turgeon, behind Brett Hull (twice) and Blake Dunlop.

“Really big names,” Thomas said. “I don’t think we have enough games left to catch any of these guys, but yeah, pretty cool achievement.”

Player Season Streak

Brett Hull

1991-92

25

Brett Hull

1989-90

20

Blake Dunlop

1981-82

19

(Tie) Adam Oates

1990-91

15

Pierre Turgeon

1999-00

15

thomas robert

2021-22

15 (current)

In fact, with the Blues having four games left in the regular season, Thomas could join Dunlop, but he can’t catch Hull.

But while Thomas acknowledged the streak was on his mind, that’s not his goal with the playoffs fast approaching.

“It’s hard not to think about it, but at the end of the day we also have a good streak of team points, so that’s more important,” he said. “We’re trying to get that home ice advantage. Every point matters so much and we know it will be a dogfight until the end.

Still, it’s pretty amazing what Thomas is accomplishing as the regular season draws to a close.

Ask Dunlop, who lives in St. Louis and watches over Thomas.

“He’s doing a great job,” Dunlop said. Athleticism Thursday before Thomas extended his streak. “He’s a great player, a great passer, that’s for sure. When you watch him play, he has multiple chances per game, which is great. It’s a compliment to his vision and his skating ability. I would say he sees the ice very well, makes great passes, but one of the advantages he has is his skating ability — being able to go full speed, stop, pivot, create space and then do it hard, cross the seam-passage.

“And playing with two great players in Tarasenko and Buchnevich, it opens up a lot of ice and opportunities for him. But at 22 to be able to come into the league and dominate and create like he does is very, very remarkable and very good for the Blues in the long run.

Thomas is going to cost the Blues a pretty penny in the near future, but for now they are getting one of the best value for money in the league.

Heading into Thursday’s game, he had 74 points, and with a salary of $2.8 million in 2021-22, that averaged $37,837 per point, according to Capfriendly.com. If you set the minimum wage at $2 million, that’s the lowest cost per point in the league. In fact, the Blues have three of the top five, including No. 4 Ivan Barbashev ($40,178) and No. 5 Jordan Kyrou ($41,176).

Player Points Salary Cost per point

74

$2.8 million

$37,837

70

$2.75 million

$39,285

50

$2 million

$40,000

56

$2.25 million

$40,178

68

$2.8 million

$41,176

Dunlop, who finished with 78 points in 81-82, joked that he should have been paid like that.

“I would have been much better off than my salary,” Dunlop said. “No, guys are so skilled these days, it’s fun to watch. Like everything, they provide entertainment, and there’s a lot of money there, so I’m glad they’re getting paid the way they deserve.

Thomas deserves everything he gets these days.

“He was really good tonight,” Berube said. “He did some really good things, offensively and defensively. He just plays really good hockey. He works and competes and he does a lot of good things.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)