St. Louis Blues 2022-23 Season Preview

They were certainly no Avalanche, but the Blues had an incredible offensive team last year, one that did not get enough credit. They were fourth in the league in goals scored and had ten players with 47 or more points. St. Louis had incredible scoring depth and will have most of their key players return for the 2022-23 season.

Offseason additions: F Noel Acciari, G Thomas Greiss, F Josh Leivo, F Martin Frk, F Tyler Pitlick (PTO).

Offseason subtractions: F David Perron, G Ville Husso, F James Neal.


The Blues failed to trade Vladimir Tarasenko before the season as they couldn’t find a taker for the sniper coming off of multiple shoulder surgeries. It became a prime example of the best trades being the ones you don’t make, as Tarasenko returned to his old self, scoring 34 goals with 82 points, both of which led the team. His defense was rough, but the team isn’t paying him to be a Selke candidate. It doesn’t hurt to play with one of the best passers in the game, as Robert Thomas had 57 assists in 72 games. He added 20 goals for 77 points, demolishing his previous career-high. Thomas signed an eight-year extension in the offseason. St. Louis found the perfect final piece to their top line by practically stealing Pavel Buchnevich from the Rangers. In his first season with the team, Buchnevich scored 30 goals with 76 total points. His 53.5 xGF% easily led the team. Even though the Blues were a playoff team, Thomas was the only other player above fifty percent.

While Ryan O’Reilly’s production last season was his worst in three seasons with the Blues, St. Louis doesn’t need him to be a 70-point player, especially with how well the rest of the top-six played. It isn’t like O’Reilly struggled, either. He scored 21 goals with 58 points, while finishing fourth in Selke voting. O’Reilly had just a 2.09 GA/60 at even strength. That was actually bested by Brandon Saad and David Perron, his two linemates. Perron left for Detroit in free agency, while Saad remains. His 24 goals and 49 points were his most since 2016-17, when he was still on Columbus. Jordan Kyrou was the fourth man on the first line last year, and at times was put on the third line simply because there was no room for him in the top-six. Perron’s departure opens up that spot. Kyrou broke out in his second full season, scoring 27 goals with 75 points in 74 games.

The team’s center depth in the top-nine has caused Brayden Schenn to be forgotten. While he was limited to 62 games in the regular season, Schenn still scored 24 goals with 58 points. In 343 games since coming to St. Louis, Schenn has 276 points, 30 more than he had over six seasons in Philadelphia. Of all the Blues to go on a crazy scoring pace, the most surprising was easily Ivan Barbashev. In the past, he had produced like a fourth-liner. But in 2021-22, he rode a shooting percentage over 23 to 26 goals and 60 points. The new scoring touch didn’t affect the physicality, as Barbashev set a career-high in hits, with 160. This could be the rookie season of Jake Neighbours, the 2020 first-round pick who got a taste of the NHL last season, with two points in nine games. He was then sent back to the WHL, where he put up 45 points in 30 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Three years after being “tripped” in a controversial non-call that helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup, Noel Acciari has joined St. Louis. While he did score a fluky 20 goals in 2019-20, Acciari has played in just 61 games in the two seasons since, with seven goals and 19 points. He got into just 20 games for the Panthers in this past season. While 2021-22 was the fifth season in which Nathan Walker played in multiple NHL games, it was really the first in which he got a real opportunity. Playing in 30 games, he scored eight goals, which is a 22-goal pace over 82 games. He also lit up the AHL, scoring 19 goals with 44 points in 47 games. After coming over from Ottawa in a preseason trade, 2016 first-rounder Logan Brown had 11 points in 39 games. He also had 17 points in 19 AHL games. While he may have been highly touted as a prospect, Brown’s six-foot-six stature could be beneficial for a fourth line role. Another top pick who hasn’t produced at the NHL level is Klim Kostin. At six-foot-three, he is no slouch himself. Kostin got his best look at the NHL last season, with nine points in 40 games. Journeyman Josh Leivo has always had solid scoring paces, but never plays enough to have good final numbers. He played in seven NHL games for the Hurricanes last year and had three points. Leivo also had 46 points in 54 AHL contests.


Justin Faulk’s long term contract with the Blues didn’t get off to a hot start, but that was repaired last year, as he was the team’s top defender. Faulk scored 16 goals with 47 points and was nominated for the Norris Trophy. However, it should be noted that he had a PDO over 105. Having one of 101 is high on its own. Sustaining 105 over 76 games is practically unheard of. It inflated Faulk’s even strength goals for percentage to 64.1. He’s good, but not at that level. The same could be said for his main partner, Torey Krug. Playing in 64 games, he had 43 points and is capable for much more. Krug also had an insane PDO, at an even 106. His GF% was 62.2 percent.

Colton Parayko’s new eight-year extension that carries a $6.5 million cap hit kicks in this season. It is a ton for a second-pairing defender, although the Blues deploy Faulk and Parayko evenly. The 29-year-old had 35 points in 80 games, tying a career-high. He also had a career-high 169 blocked shots. The Blues extended Nick Leddy after acquiring him from Detroit at the deadline. The offensive defenseman had eight points in 20 games after the trade, then added five more in nine playoff games. Leddy can struggle in his own end, which is why it is important to pair him with a stronger defender like Parayko.

With how much Faulk and Parayko play a night, the third right-defender doesn’t have a whole lot of ice time left for them. That role has mostly been filled by the physical Robert Bortuzzo, who is entering his ninth season with the Blues. His 73 games played last year was a career-high, although his 135 hits weren’t. The competition for his partner is between Scott Perunovich and Niko Mikkola. Perunovich comes in as the much more intriguing option. The oft-injured former second-rounder dominated at the University of Minnesota-Duluth before turning pro. He had 22 points in 17 AHL games last year, and six in 19 NHL games. Perunovich got into seven playoff games, recording four assists. Mikkola has a lot more NHL experience, playing in 54 games last season. The big and lean lefty had 13 points with 81 blocks and 109 hits.


St. Louis had a goaltending controversy last year between Jordan Binnington and Ville Husso, which has been cleared up after Husso followed Perron to Detroit. Binnington definitely was not the better goalie in the regular season, as he had a .901 save percentage, a 3.13 GAA, and a -10.4 GSAx. He won the starting job back in six playoff games before getting injured, posting a .949 save percentage and a 1.72 GAA. His new backup, ironically, will be Detroit’s old backup. Thomas Greiss did not fare well after leaving the goalie-friendly Islanders for the Red Wings. He played in 31 games last year, posting a 3.66 GAA with a save percentage of .891. While he is 36 and that can be concerning, Greiss should have better numbers simply by being on a much better team.

Projected Lines

Pavel Buchnevich – Robert Thomas – Vladimir Tarasenko

Brandon Saad – Ryan O’Reilly – Jordan Kyrou

Jake Neighbours – Brayden Schenn – Ivan Barbashev

Nathan Walker – Logan Brown – Noel Acciari

Scratched: Josh Leivo, Klim Kostin

Torey Krug – Justin Faulk

Nick Leddy – Colton Parayko

Scott Perunovich – Robert Bortuzzo

Scratched: Niko Mikkola

Jordan Binnington

Thomas Greiss

Published by carterhud SI Kids Kid Reporter, Prime Time Sports Talk writer

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