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Who is the Blues’ MVP?

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This year didn’t go like anyone planned, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t players who carried more than their weight.

St Louis Blues v Vancouver Canucks - Game Four Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

The Blues finished the 2019-2020 regular season as Central Division champions, and led the Western Conference going into the playoff bubble. The round-robin dinged the Blues’ chances of going into the official playoff rounds as the top seed, and St. Louis got knocked out in six games by the Vancouver Canucks.

It might feel odd to choose a MVP for a team that didn’t go all of the way, but there’s nothing that says that a Hart Trophy winner has to be on an eventual champion, so that rule applies here, too. As disappointing as the playoffs were, the regular season was a generally solid effort for the team.

There were a few players more so than others who helped the Blues finish first in the division, and the list shouldn’t be shocking to anyone:

  • David Perron
  • Ryan O’Reilly
  • Jaden Schwartz
  • Alex Pietrangelo

You can easily make a case for any of these guys to be the team’s MVP. Schwartz had a 57 point season in 71 games, and 20 of those points were on the man advantage. He doubled his goal production from last year and tacked on 21 more points in just two additional games played. After an off-season in 2018-2019, Schwartz’s return to form was a key part of why the Blues finished at the top of the division.

Schwartz also was one of the Blues who tried to stretch the series against Vancouver out as long as possible, scoring twice in game six’s eventual loss.

Alex Pietrangelo may have been playing for a pay raise all season, but that doesn’t mean that the Blues shouldn’t benefit from it. He had 16 goals and 36 assists this season. He finished sixth in the league for defensemen in points and third in goals. His leadership through a rough patch in January helped the Blues right the ship heading down the stretch, but you can’t expect one guy to do everything in the playoffs. Teams sink or swim on leadership, but that isn’t entirely the responsibility of the captain.

The league-best bromance of David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly are, for me personally, in a two-way tie for team MVP. On one hand, you have a player drafted by the Blues and who constantly returns to the Blues. On the other, you have the outcome of one of the great fleecings in recent GM history. When Perron was drafted by the Blues back in 2007, expectations were high, but consistency was not on the young player’s radar... yet. As he has aged, Perron has gotten better and better. After experiencing the Stanley Cup final with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2018, Perron returned to the Blues and put up stellar numbers. This season he finished second on the team with 60 points, and tied for third with Schwartz with 25 goals.

Where Perron really shone was in the postseason. There were many games that looked like Perron was trying to win them on his own, and he finished with four goals and five assists. Unfortunately, the Blues had but one David Perron on their lineup.

They did, however, have a Ryan O’Reilly, who also had a standout season and solid, if brief, postseason. His 12 goals was a decline from last season’s 28, but he matched last year’s assist total. In the postseason, O’Reilly led the Blues with 11 points (four goals, 7 assists).

For me, personally, the Blues’ MVP this year is David Perron, just based on O’Reilly’s production decline in the regular season. Perron’s consistently been one of the Blues’ key players since his return in 2018, and his success has outstripped expectations. The Blues’ post-season was disappointing, but Perron was a bright spot. His will to win was evident; despite some questionable penalties, he consistently performed at a higher level than the rest of the guys on the ice. Where the Blues looked discombobulated at best, Perron had focus.

Jokes have been made about Perron being unprotected again in the next expansion draft (I have been guilty of those jokes) but to be honest, it would be a loss that the Blues may not be able to afford.