There’s no better time than right now, during the NHL All Star break in San Jose, CA, to grade the St. Louis Blues on their performance up to the halfway mark of the season. Before giving an overall team grade, let’s look at each of the players on the current roster.
NOTE: Carl Gunnarsson, Jordan Kyrou, Jordan Nolan, Robby Fabbri, and Sammy Blais have been omitted from the list due to playing less than 25 games.
Alex Pietrangelo - D+
- It’s been a shaky year for Pietrangelo with defensive turnovers and lack of offensive production.
Alexander Steen - D
- Even though Steen’s been injured for a decent portion of the first half, while on the ice, he seems to be more of a liability given his speed is declining.
Brayden Schenn - B-
- After a positive first season with the Blues in 2017-2018, Schenn is continuing to have another productive season. Maybe not in goals, but he’s doing a good job distributing the puck.
Colton Parayko - C-
- Turnovers and puck handling has been an issue this year, as well as putting shots on target. Get those shots on net, and Parayko is lethal.
David Perron - B
- Third time’s the charm for Perron and the Blues. He’s been pretty consistent in production,, but his achilles heel continues to be taking ill-timed offensive zone penalties.
Ivan Barbashev - B-
- Barbashev knows his role on the team, and is continually grinding out his shifts. He has the ability to open the ice for scoring opportunities, but needs to improve on capitalizing on those chances.
Jaden Schwartz - C+
- In 36 games played, Schwartz has lit the lamp only 3 times. Being in a drought can definitely impact a player’s confidence. The effort, however, has been present and is long overdue for a goal-scoring streak.
Jay Bouwmeester - C-
- Bouwmeester’s age has clearly been showing the last couple of seasons. Even though he has the experience, it’s looking difficult for Jay to continue to sustain top defensive-line minutes.
Joel Edmundson - C
- Edmundson is another player who clearly knows his role on the team. On the defensive end, he’s been strong. But his puck movement ability, especially in the neutral zone, can use improvement.
Oskar Sundqvist - B+
- No doubt the biggest surprise for the Blues this year, and is on track to possibly win the NHL’s ‘Most Improved Player’ award.
Pat Maroon - D+
- On the other end of the spectrum, Maroon has been one of the biggest disappoints thus far this season. With 14 points in 41 games played, we expected a lot more. We’re hoping for a positive turnaround from Maroon in the second half.
Robert Bortuzzo - C
- Bortuzzo has been a solid ‘stay at home’ defenseman, and knows when to pinch-in on a play. When the Blues are in a tight game, there have been times when he’s taken untimely penalties.
Robert Thomas - C
- As a rookie, Thomas has been performing as expected. A few rookie mistakes here and there, but nothing concerning. 14 points in 37 games played isn’t too shabby, given that he’s played on different lines in various situations.
Ryan O’Reilly - A-
- Where would the Blues be without O’Reilly? He’s been playing just as advertised, and representing the Blue Note well in San Jose for this weekend’s All Star Game festivities.
Tyler Bozak - C-
- The new addition hasn’t been spectacular so far this season. Putting up 19 points in 40 games doesn’t seem too bad, but Bozak has seen quite a few scoring opportunities gone to waste.
Vince Dunn - C
- Dunn has been producing fairly well in the first half, with 21 points in 45 games, for the second year defenseman. He can improve on his puck-handling ability in the offensive zone, as well as be more confident on the Power Play. There have been numerous times where he’s had an open shot, but decided to pass up (pun intended) on the opportunity to put the puck on net.
Vladimir Tarasenko - B-
- After a slow start to the season, it seems like Tarasenko is back to his old self. He has 32 points in 48 games played, but has been lighting the lamp frequently as of late. Here’s to hoping his recent goal scoring success continues into the second half.
Zach Sanford - B
- Sanford has been a reliable 3rd/4th line player, with the ability to play on the Penalty Kill as well. He’s been working hard in the dirty areas for the puck, and creates scoring opportunities for his linemates with the strong work ethic he embodies.
Jordan Binnington - B+
- A pleasant surprise for the Blues as of late. Posting only 1 regulation loss in his first 5 starts, Binnington has helped the team with by exemplifying confidence in net.
Jake Allen - D+
- It’s hard to grade Allen. Some nights he plays lights out, and others...well not so much. Fans can’t pin every one of his losses solely on the goalie. Early on, there has been a visible difference in how the defense plays in front of Binnington versus in front of Allen. For the team’s sake, let’s hope the Blues gain defensive consistency.
Overall team grade: C-
- After all of the offseason additions, the Blues looked like a clear-cut favorite to be a Stanley Cup contender. Even though the first half was nothing like anyone hoped, the team seemed to finally be meshing together right before the All Star break. Let’s hope the Blues finally fixed their chemistry issues, and look forward to a strong second half.