St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist.

(Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Blues Top Under-the-Radar Performer Has to be Oskar Sundqvist

Blues broadcaster Joey Vitale says among the few people expecting this from "Sunny" was the great Sidney Crosby.

December 27, 2018 - 9:30 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Coming into the 2018-19 season, St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist was in NHL headlines for being the latest victim of a brutal hit by repeat offender Tom Wilson. Now, the 24-year-old is becoming a surprise contributor of keys goals for St. Louis this season.

Sundqvist had only two goals in 70 career games with Pittsburgh and the Blues, coming into 2018. He has six goals through 26 games played this year. His talents have even caught the eye of former teammate Sidney Crosby, says Blues broadcaster Joey Vitale. Also a former teammate of Crosby, Vitale was talking with the two-time Hart Trophy winner back in October before Sundqvist returned from his injury. 

"I told him, I think he's doing O.K. They aren't really sure what he is yet or what he isn't, I think they are going to slot him into the fourth line for a while," Vitale says. "And he said, 'Joe, we never should have gotten rid of this kid. This kid is unbelievable, wait until you see what this kid can do.' And man, in the last three or four weeks he's just done nothing but continue to improve, continue to mature. 

"His speed is evident on the ice, he's a responsible two-way centerman. He's back-checking, he's chipping in offensivley, he's physical. He's one of the main reasons why our penalty kill is so good."

Vitale was a guest on Sports on a Sunday Morning, recapping the holiday break before St. Louis hosts the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday night:

When "Sunny" records a goal or an assist, the Blues are 5-2-1 this year and he tallied his latest point with a third-period goal in Saturday's win in Calgary to give St. Louis some much-needed breathing room in an eventual 3-1 victory.

Sundqvist started the season on the IR, missing the first eight games after taking a blindside hit from Washington’s Wilson in a preseason game. 

There were two other names Vitale offered as Blues players we're not talking enough about: The No. 1 D-pairing of Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson. 

"They are smothering every other team's first line," Vitale says. "They went out against (Connor) McDavid, they go out again (Nathan) MacKinnon, you saw them against the (Johnny) Gaudreau line and they are just not allowing anything five-on-five."