Whatever The Question is…Jordan Kyrou is the Answer. As the 2017-18 NHL season surges to the finale, Blues fans find themselves in an oddly familiar position.
Although it has been a few years since we have wandered into said territory, I, for one, remember it all too well. We all sat and stared at our twitter feeds at the trade deadline, pondering whether St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong would buy or sell, and at the conclusion of the deadline, I am still not sure whether that question was clearly answered.
It seems he landed somewhere in between buying and selling, drowning in the depths of mediocrity. Leaving many fans asking themselves, “What now?” Well, today, I will attempt to answer that question for all of us, and my answer is this: Bring Jordan Kyrou to the NHL.
The Blues, along with the rest of the NHL, have a solid pipeline of talent coming from leagues all over the world, but no league has been as lush with talent over the years as the CHL. So, why should we bring Kyrou up now, and what does that have to do with the CHL?
Today, we will examine some of the Blues top prospects from over the years that have started their careers in the very same league that Kyrou is dominating right now. We will take a look at a few current Blues, and a few guys from around the leagues’ best CHL season. As well as the numbers that Kyrou himself has put up this season, the best of his young career.
First Rounders with Some Fire
A guy who the Blues have severely missed all year, and one of my favorite players, Robby Fabbri was taken #21 overall in the 2014 draft by the Blues. I am certain that his magnificent run with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, a 20 team league in the CHL, had a lot to do with his draft consideration.
During the 2013-14 season, Fabbri was a +45, with 87 total points including 45 goals with 58 games played. Pretty impressive to say the least. Not to mention, he was a +16 with 28 total points during the Storms’ playoff run which ended in a Cup Championship and a playoffs MVP award for Fabbri. What Fabbri will become has yet to be seen, but his skills thus far have translated extremely well in the NHL, and I am excited to see what he has to show us next season.
Although Brayden Schenn was not drafted by St. Louis, he is another perfect example of what the CHL has to offer the NHL. During what was Schenn’s last full season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, of the Western Hockey League, a 22 team league in the CHL, he posted a +41 with 99 total points.
He was also able to significantly decrease his time spent in the penalty box. Schenn may not live up to his #5 overall draft pick by the Kings, but since becoming a member of the Blues, he seems to have found something and I personally would like to see him in our top six again next year.
Our final first-round pick needs no introduction and was chosen #1 overall by the Oilers. That’s right, Connor McDavid. I was hesitant to include a player who isn’t a member of the Blues and in fact, has better CHL numbers than most Blues in this article, but it only goes to show the level of competition in their league.
It also didn’t hurt that Fabbri’s Storm took out McDavid’s Erie Otters in the semifinals during their Cup run. However, McDavid came back the next season and posted a staggering +60 with 120 total points. McDavid had 76 assists with the Otters that season. Those numbers need no further explanation and there is no question that his skills have translated flawlessly to the NHL.
Second Round Question Marks
Not every player that came from one of the CHL leagues has grabbed their NHL jersey and have been able to go right to work, so the doubters who don’t want to rush Kyrou to the NHL do have a leg to stand on.
Just take a look at Ty Rattie. I, along with many Blues fans expected great things and immediate success for him. His last 2 seasons with the Portland Winterhawks were magnificent. He put up a +23 with 121 points followed by a massive +56 and 110 points the next year. Unfortunately, it just never quite came together while wearing the blue note.
Dmitrij Jaskin was +26 in his final CHL season and I have nothing but questions about his game at this point. His production in the CHL cannot be denied, but as Blues fans, we have only seen this in flashes, and lately, he has been invisible.
Another who remains to be seen is Ivan Barbashev. Barb etched 45 goals on the board in his final CHL season. He was also a +16. The Blues drafted him #33 overall in 2014. When he has been at the NHL level in his career, I have really liked what I’ve seen.
He works on both ends of the ice, sometimes it seems like he’s everywhere when he’s in the game, but at times he has looked a little bit lost on the offensive end, which is something that more ice time at this level could correct. I look for Barb to show us a lot more over the next few months.
Give the Kid His Shot
This brings us back to the subject at hand. Though Kyrou was taken in the second round of the 2016 NHL draft, he was only 18 years old and had put up 51 points and a +13 the season before with the Sarnia Sting. He flourished again the next season with another 94 points. What he has done this season with Sarnia has been nothing short of spectacular.
Right now he sits with 105 total points and is a +30, but his numbers aren’t even the best part. If you watch the guy play for five minutes, you can see his passion for the game and his teammates. Kyrou has blazing speed and puck control and can turn you over in the blink of an eye. He attacks the puck, which the Blues could use right now. He seems to legitimately enjoy playing hockey, and I’m not sure I’ve seen a Blues player enjoy what they are doing on the ice since before Christmas.
The reason he remains in the CHL and hasn’t even been called up to the AHL, well, I have no idea, but at this point in the season, it is upsetting. When the Stastny trade was made at the deadline, it should have been the first domino to fall.
I feel like we should have cleared cap space and brought up as many of our top ten prospects as possible. Let’s see what we have and what we need. We’ve tried many lineups that have included many of our top prospects that have already been brought to this level. Why not just skip the AHL with Kyrou and give him his shot. Yes, he is young, but so was Auston Mathews. Fabbri himself only played in three AHL games.
There have been rumblings around the Blues lately that there has been dissension in the room. Don’t get me wrong, a divided locker room is something I wouldn’t want to bring a hot young rookie into.
However, these are some of the same guys we saw play with such passion early in the season. Adding a passionate, hungry, young player I believe could only help to inspire this locker room. Especially someone like Kyrou who has shown the ability to lead with Sarnia. As captain this year, he led the team to a franchise record 43 wins thus far.
This team’s struggles on the power play is a theme that has gone on all year. Too many bad turnovers, no one attacking the net, its ugly. Kyrou leads the OHL with 41 power play points including 13 goals, and 28 assists. Even our superstar in Tarasenko has struggled in his career on the PP. Having a top PP assist man in Kyrou on the ice could improve our entire unit, including Vladdy.
🚨RECORD BREAKING GOAL🚨
— Sarnia Sting (@StingHockey) March 4, 2018
In the past week, we have seen Kyrou become the first OHL player with 100 points this season, and he did it in 10 fewer games than everyone else. On Sunday, he led his Sarnia team to their 43rd win of the year, a franchise record.
He recorded his 100th point in the third period, in a game they once trailed 3-0. In overtime, Jordan gave Sarnia fans a little of the excitement that Blues fans have been longing for. That is, a beautiful game-winning goal in front of the net as shown in the video above. Oh, how I would love to see just a little of that Kyrou magic in St. Louis this year. So Mr. Armstrong, if you would, give us a reason to keep watching what has become a disaster.
Whether you would like to see us win games, make trades in the offseason, find out exactly what we need/what we have, or you just want to enjoy watching Blues hockey again, I assure you Blues fans….Jordan Kyrou is the answer.