Now that all of the final votes have been tallied and rosters have been made official, the St. Louis Blues will have one representative at the 2022 NHL All-Star Game, set to take place on Saturday, February 5 in Las Vegas. It is winger Jordan Kyrou that is taking his talents to Sin City to represent the Central Division in the three-on-three tournament. For Kyrou, this will be his first All-Star selection in his fourth NHL season, though he spent parts of the first two seasons playing for San Antonio in the American Hockey League. The shortened 2020-21 season was Kyrou’s first as a full-time top-six player for the Blues and showed promise with 35 points in 55 games. This season, however, has been Kyrou’s breakout season as he already has 39 points to lead the Blues in scoring halfway through the season.
Kyrou’s linemate, center Robert Thomas was featured in the league’s “Last Man In” voting to be named the final player to the Central Division roster, however, he lost out to Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche, leaving St. Louis with Kyrou as their lone All-Star selection.
The future is bright for Kyrou
Since the Blues originally drafted Kyrou in the 2nd round, 35th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the expectations have been high. After a successful junior career which included back-to-back years tallying around 100 points for the Sarnia Sting, as well as a gold medal for Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, Kyrou made his NHL debut in the 2018-19 season. He only played in sixteen games that season, so he missed out on having his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. After a couple of years of back and forth between the NHL and the minors, Kyrou came back to St. Louis better and better each time has continued that exponential growth all the way to earning his first All-Star nod. At 23 years old, it’s safe to say that the ceiling for Kyrou is sky-high. The combination of skill and speed that he plays with makes him arguably the Blues’ most dangerous homegrown forward since the club drafted Vladimir Tarasenko in 2010.
After signing his second NHL contract with the Blues last summer, Kyrou is in the first year of a two-year deal that carries a $2.8 million cap hit. For his point production, that is proving to be one of the biggest bargains in the league, which is great for the Blues currently, though, at this rate, they better be planning for a substantial pay raise as Kyrou will be hitting the beginning of his prime at the age of 25 when his next contract begins.
Thoughts on All-Star selection process
After the NHL All-Star rosters were announced, chatter around the league increased regarding the selection process for players. Currently, the league requires that at least one player from each team is selected, which can lead to some of the league’s better players being snubbed simply because their teammates are also elite. Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche and captain of the Central Division All-Stars, commented on this with media this week, pointing out that his teammate Kadri has better numbers than players who were part of the initial roster selection.
Many Blues fans share MacKinnon’s sentiment, and a lot of that has to do with how general manager Doug Armstrong constructed this roster. Halfway through the season, the Blues currently sit second in the Western Conference and look like bonafide Stanley Cup contenders. While they do not have a player like Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews putting up video game numbers and carrying the team offensively, the Blues have arguably the deepest forward group in the league, which is evident on the stat sheet, where they have five players who have tallied 30-39 points. With that being said, it is easy to see why many Blues fans believe that Kyrou should not have been the team’s only All-Star selection, with players like Tarasenko, Pavel Buchnevich, and Ivan Barbashev having similar years offensively. While MacKinnon has been a thorn in the Blues’ side in his time in Colorado, at least there is one thing that St. Louis fans can agree with the Avalanche star on.
While Blues fans have had high expectations for Jordan Kyrou for years, the league as a whole is finally starting to take notice. The league’s biggest stars perform their best on the biggest stages, and Kyrou showed that in his record-setting four-point performance in the Winter Classic, and with an All-Star Game next month and a potential Stanley Cup run in the spring, Kyrou has the biggest stages laid out in front of him and now it’s up to him make the league continue to take notice.
Main image credit: