The St. Louis Blues are back.
The Blues are finally ready to host the Edmonton Oilers in the Enterprise Center at 7:30 pm Central tonight. After Wednesday’s home tilt, St. Louis will visit the Minnesota Wild at Target Field for the Winter Classic on January 1st at 6:00 pm Central. According to NHL.com, the Winter Classic “will go on as planned” with severe cold weather expected.
But, in the meantime, let me share with you why veteran defenseman Justin Faulk should be the 2021 Blues MVP. Faulk last played on December 19th with fellow defenseman Torey Krug. The duo formed the team’s second defense pairing and complemented each other as they immediately impacted the defensive game during their respective restarts.
Faulk, a former 37th overall pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2010 NHL Draft, is a competitive and hard-working guy. The Blues may not be the hottest team in the league, but their defense is good. While the team’s defense isn’t great, it has the potential to be great again. However, all of the team’s defensemen need to put in more work on and off the ice.
When healthy, Faulk is a good, if not great, defenseman on the Blues’ roster. He should be the team’s MVP because he’s talented. Yes, he has only scored five goals and six assists for 11 points in 25 games thus far this season; but he has showcased his offensive mindset and netted some highlight-reel goals here and there, such as this highlight-reel goal below.
I’d like to point out Faulk’s +13 rating, good for 9th overall in the league among defensemen.
Yes, I know Faulk hasn’t dominated offensively as he did with the Hurricanes. But please remember he has dealt with COVID-19 and sustained injuries.
Now’s the time to notice his slow but steady progress on the Blues’ blue line and stop expecting too much from him. I’m not saying he’ll end people missing the Alex Pietrangelo era in St. Louis, but don’t count him out. He has been defensively maturing with the help of his teammates and head coach Craig Berube. He’ll get better over time. I’m pretty sure of it.