Sammy Blais officially welcomed himself to St. Louis during the postseason last year. His physical play helped set the tone. But now, Blais has begun to show a more consistent scoring touch.
It took Blais until January of last season to score his first and second goals, the only two he had. Just two games in, Blais already has two goals. He’s one point away from matching his total from last season.
Blais only has 46 NHL games to his name so expectations can be tempered a bit. He’s only 23 years old and hasn’t been able to earn a full time role on the roster yet. Early signs show that he is ready to do that this season, however.
With a player like Robby Fabbri struggling out of the gate, Blais has been able to grab a spot on the roster. And it doesn’t look like he wants to give that up any time soon.
It took some time for Blais to become adjusted to the pro game. He had two previous stints with the Blues before this season. He appeared in 11 games in the 2017-18 season, scoring his first NHL goal and collecting three points. That number jumped to 32 games last season where he registered four points.
A sixth round draft pick back in 2014, it understandably took awhile for Blais to make it to the NHL in the first place. He celebrated being drafted by putting up 82 points for the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL. That was good for second on the team.
Blais matched that total the following season as he put up 40 points in 30 games for the Tigres before he was traded to the Charlottetown Islanders. There he recorded 42 points in 33 games.
Blais would turn pro the following season, debuting for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL. He continued to show a scoring touch as he registered 43 points in 75 games. Among rookie teammates, that was two points behind Vince Dunn.
It’s been a long time coming for Blais. He has shown flashes at different times as to the player he can be. And the Blues have taken notice, inserting him onto the second line with David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly. The three have combined for 10 points in the teams first three games.
The Blues showed faith in Blais by signing him to the first one-way deal of his career. They were essentially telling him that if he performed, the opportunities for more would come. And it’s safe to say Blais has gotten that message. It included learning how to add some new things to his game.
Getting in on the forecheck and learning to make plays for himself has begun to pay dividends for the young forward. With Blais continuing to figure out how to use both to power his game, the sky is the limit. And the trips back to San Antonio may officially be a thing of the past.