Reinforcements have arrived for the struggling St.Louis Blues as the team announced forwards Brandon Saad and Pavel Buchnevich will return to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. After trading away long-time forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly, the Blues are struggling to play motivated hockey.
At the very least, Saad and Buchnevich should inject some hard work and leadership into this team. Head coach Craig Berube said just as much when speaking to reporters today:
Having Buchy and Saad back, we’re a much better team for sure. The veterans have to lead by example—from a work standpoint, compete standpoint, playing the right way.
The Blues are mired in a three-game losing streak that has dropped them to sixth place in the Central Division, five points behind the Nashville Predators and only six ahead of the Arizona Coyotes. While it’s been clear for weeks that this wouldn’t be the Blues’ year, seeing them plummet down the standings is not something anyone expected.
Getting Buchnevich back makes them a much more dangerous team, as the 27-year-old winger’s 43 points still lead the club on a per-game basis. In the second season of a four-year, $23.2MM contract signed in 2021, Buchnevich is one of the pieces that will cause general manager Doug Armstrong to be more aggressive than some other sellers this summer, adding more talent to the group instead of going through a rebuilding process.
Saad is also still an effective player, even if his offensive totals have never quite reached the potential many saw in him as a youngster in Chicago. The veteran forward has 15 goals and 22 points this season through 46 games.