Editor’s note: please welcome Ana Kieu to Game Time! Ana’s new to St. Louis and new to covering the Blues. She’s a Bay Area transplant getting to know her new home and new hometown team. Consider this her introduction.
The St. Louis Blues were one of six teams that were added to the NHL thanks to the 1967 NHL expansion. Since then, St. Louis has acquired, drafted, and traded a lot of players. While I have quite a few favorite Blues, I’ve narrowed the list down to my top 10 favorite Blues players right now.
Honorable mention: Dakota Joshua
Dakota Joshua is relatively new to the NHL. He was the 28th overall pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2014 NHL Draft. From there, he played two seasons for the Sioux Falls Stampede, and helped them win the 2015 Clark Cup.
Fast forward to 2019 when Joshua’s rights were traded to the Blues in exchange for cash considerations. Joshua made his NHL debut on March 1, 2021, and scored a goal against the Anaheim Ducks. After his debut, Joshua told the media: “It was all I expected and then some. To play in the National Hockey League is the biggest honor you can have in the sport of hockey. So it was an unreal experience to be a part of the club today.”
10. Mike Hoffman
Mike Hoffman began his NHL career as a member of the Ottawa Senators. He was drafted 130th overall by the Senators in the 2009 NHL Draft.
A Kitchener, Ontario native, Hoffman has come a long way in his professional hockey career. In 2014-15, he was selected to play in the NHL All-Star weekend and led all NHL rookies in goals with 16. In 2018, he was traded to the Florida Panthers, with whom he had a 17-game point streak with 10 goals and 10 assists and broke the franchise record that was previously held by Pavel Bure, who had a 13-game point streak in 1999-00.
He’s a fun player to watch as he’s a goal scorer and an offensive winger. However, there has been trade chatter after he was a healthy scratch for the March 28th game against the Anaheim Ducks. I don’t expect him to stay with the Blues for the long term.
9. Tyler Bozak
I’ve been following Tyler Bozak since he signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2009. Bozak scored his first career NHL hat trick in 2015 and scored a career-high 55 points alongside James van Riemsdyk and Mitch Marner in 2016-17. There’s no doubt that Bozak is one of the more solid players in the league as his great skating and “pass first” mentality helps him stand out.
Obviously, Bozak didn’t win a Stanley Cup with the Maple Leafs, so that might’ve been one of the reasons why he decided to become a free agent and sign a three-year, $15 million contract with the Blues. If so, his wish was granted in 2019, and he deserved his success.
8. Jordan Kyrou
Jordan Kyrou, a 35th overall pick by the Blues in the 2016 NHL Draft, is another fun player to watch. Before joining St. Louis, he was a member of the Sarnia Sting, and won the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy as the OHL’s top scoring right winger with 109 points.
Today, Kyrou is turning heads with his exceptional talent that’s ahead of his potential. He’s just 22 years old, but he has proved to the masses that he could compete. He’s skated with veterans like Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn this season. He’s the real deal.
7. David Perron
David Perron was drafted 26th overall by the Blues in the 2007 NHL Draft. He’s currently in his third stint with the team. He previously played for the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, and Vegas Golden Knights.
Perron may be a journeyman, but you can’t deny that he has been exceeding expectations. In 2019, he scored 46 points in 57 regular season games, and helped the Blues advance in the NHL standings, the postseason, and eventually the Stanley Cup Final in which they won in seven games with a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Blues fans were relieved as their team won their first Stanley Cup and bounced back from a disastrous six game loss to the San Jose Sharks in the 2016 Western Conference Final — and yes, I covered that series as a first-year Sharks beat reporter for Inside Hockey. Despite the loss, it was an amazing experience as I had just graduated from San Jose State University in 2015.
6. Jaden Schwartz
Jaden Schwartz was selected by the Blues in the 2010 NHL Draft. He won a Stanley Cup in 2019 and led the Blues in goal scoring during the playoffs with 12 goals. When healthy, he’s a solid goal scorer in the regular season and the postseason.
5. Brayden Schenn
Blues alternate captain and center Brayden Schenn was originally selected fifth overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2009 NHL Draft. The Kings traded Schenn to the Philadelphia Flyers, with whom he scored his first career NHL hat trick in 2016. The Flyers traded Schenn to the Blues and the rest was history.
Schenn won his first Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019, but let’s not forget that he scored 42 points in 32 games before being named to the 2018 NHL All-Star Game and finishing 2017-18 with 70 points and 42 assists. He’s a hard worker on the ice, and a great guy off the ice. He made Blues prospect Jake Neighbors feel at home by letting him stay at his house in St. Louis.
4. Colton Parayko
Colton Parayko is another alternate captain for the Blues. He was selected 86th overall by the Blues in the 2012 NHL Draft. He has become a fan favorite.
Parayko has become one of my favorite Blues players. When I first saw him play at the SAP Center, I fell in love with his defensive play, hard work ethic, and extreme drive to improve. He’s an all-around player.
3. Jordan Binnington
No list would be complete without a mention of a goalie. So, here you go. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington was drafted 88th overall by the namesake team in the 2011 NHL Draft. Binnington previously played for the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack from 2009-13.
Binnington completes the Blues team. The Blues have a special team with a great mix of veterans and rookies — and recently re-signed Binnington to a six-year, $36 million contract. Here’s to many more years of Binnington making noteworthy saves in front of the Blues net.
2. Ryan O’Reilly
Oh captain! My captain!
Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly was originally selected 33rd overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2009 NHL Draft, but he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres the same day his brother, Cal, signed a two-year contract in Upstate New York.
After three years, Buffalo traded Ryan to St. Louis, where he belongs. Ryan deserved the captaincy, and you can’t tell me otherwise. Ryan became the first NHL player to score a goal in four consecutive Stanley Cup Final games since Wayne Gretzky in 1985. Gretzky played for the Blues in 1996.
1. Vladimir Tarasenko
Last but not least is Blues alternate captain and winger Vladimir Tarasenko.
Tarasenko, who was selected 16th overall by the Blues in the 2010 NHL Draft, was the first Blues player I’ve heard of — and there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, he’s packed with star power and so is his family. His father, Andrei, is a former RSL scoring champion and an Olympian who competed in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. His wife, Yana, is a model and lifestyle blogger. So, there’s no shortage of popularity here.
Yes, Tarasenko’s injuries are frustrating, but I still enjoy his play. He’s fun to watch, he’s one of the most dangerous goal scorers in the league, and his wrist shot is accurate and unique. He’s the whole package, with room to get better and healthier. Why make a controversial trade?