Hockey

The Future is Now for Kyrou and Thomas

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For the past few years, the St. Louis Blues have been planning on top prospects Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas to take over as the team’s next dynamic duo at forward. Neither player set the league on fire in their rookie seasons, but patience has paid off for the Blues as Kyrou is leading the club in goals, assists, and points, while Thomas is not far behind, ranking third in points.

The two players have long been linked with one another, going back to playing together for Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2018. Thomas went on to join the Blues the following season, winning the Stanley Cup in his rookie season, though he was injured in the Cup Final by Torey Krug, who of course is now his Blues teammate. Kyrou played a handful of games in the NHL in 2018-19, though not enough to have his name engraved on the cup. After some development in the American Hockey League, Kyrou earned a spot on the St. Louis roster at the start of the 2020-21 season and hasn’t looked back. Kyrou and Thomas have long been viewed as the future of the Blues, but it appears the future is now in St. Louis.

Kyrou blossoming into a star

Kyrou had a fine rookie season in the NHL, notching 35 points in 55 games and showing potential to be a top-six forward. While progress was to be expected, this sophomore season has been nothing short of magical. Through 55 games this season, Kyrou has tallied 22 goals and 37 assists for 59 points, all best on the team as previously mentioned. Among the accolades Kyrou has collected already this season, he set an NHL outdoor game record with four points in the Winter Classic in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Wild, as well as beating out the best player in the world, Connor McDavid, to win the NHL Fastest Skater Competition in his first All-Star nod.

At this rate, Kyrou looks to be the Blues’ most dynamic homegrown forward since Vladimir Tarasenko, which is high praise in St. Louis. His elite speed has given the Blues offense a new dynamic that has ascended the attack to another level, with the team ranking in the top five in goals per game and power-play percentage. With Kyrou the leading man on this prolific offense, the long-awaited future is now.

Patience paying off for Thomas

While Thomas has been a solid player in his first few years in the NHL, 2021-22 has been a breakout season for the dynamic center. Already eclipsing his career-high in points by the middle of March, Thomas has netted 12 goals and 36 assists, good for 48 points in 51 games played. After starting his career as a right-wing with limited ice time as he developed his game, Thomas has ascended to being the team’s number two center. Playing in the middle alongside Kyrou for a majority of the season, Thomas has shown elite passing ability and has been racking up assists all year. A recent surge in goal scoring has been an added bonus for the Blues.

A healthy season has done wonders for Thomas. The opportunity to play top-six minutes and center the top power-play unit has given him the chance to take his game to the next level. After jumping straight into the NHL from junior hockey, the expectations have always been high for Thomas. The patience the team had with his development is seeming to pay off, with Thomas looking like the top center in St. Louis for years to come.

The ascension of both Kyrou and Thomas has taken the St. Louis offense to the next level. After the team was carried offensively early on by its Russian contingent, the youngsters have taken off in the second half of the season, giving the forward group greater depth than it had when the Blues won it all in 2019. Both players are under contract for one more season and both will be in line for significant raises when the time comes.

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