The St. Louis Blues were a tough team to figure out last season.
Prior to last year, it seemed like the Blues utilized the same template every season. They would have a great regular season, qualify for the postseason, and consistently be contenders. It was like that for many years.
That all changed last season. While team head coach Mike Yeo got his team off to a blazing start in which they had their best first month of the season in franchise history, things started to go downhill quickly and that caused the team to miss the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
Their starting goaltender, Jake Allen, struggled with consistency, they play in an extremely competitive division and conference, and they had to deal with a ton of injuries. When you put all of these together, you have a team that will struggle to get to April.
In order to have success this season, the first thing they need to do is stay healthy. Players like Jay Bouwmeester, Scottie Upshall, Robby Fabbri, Carl Gunnarsson, Jaden Schwartz, Robert Bortuzzo, Jake Allen, and Vladimir Tarasenko all missed time this season. Having these guys in and out of the line-up is not a recipe for success.
Jake Allen will also need to be a hell of a lot better this season than he was last year. Things got so bad for Allen, 27, last season that Yeo was forced to go with backup Carter Hutton, who played extremely well last year, for an extended period of time.
Offensively, this team should be pretty good. Tarasenko is an absolute stud. He had 66 points last season (33 goals and 33 assists) and is still just 26-years-old, which means that he has not even hit his prime yet.
Behind Tarasenko, the Blues will rely on David Perron (16 goals and 50 assists for 66 points), a hopefully healthy Jaden Schwartz (24 goals and 35 assists for 59 points in 62 games), Ryan O’Reilly (24 goals and 37 assists for 61 points), Brayden Schenn (28 goals and 42 assists for 70 points) and Alexander Steen (15 goals and 31 assists for 46 points). These guys can put points up on the board and will need to do so again this year.
When healthy, the Blues have a great defensive corps. They are led by team captain Alex Pietrangelo. Still just 28 years of age, he had 54 points (15 goals and 39 assists) last year and was an early candidate for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman. This is a guy who consistently produces from the blue line and is also someone who is very responsible in his own end as he blocks a lot of shots, breaks up a lot of passes, and is great at possessing the puck.
Colton Parayko is also a very valuable defenseman for the Blues. He had 35 points (6 goals and 29 assists) last season, has a booming shot and can play a physical brand of hockey. While he does need to improve his play in his own zone, he is just 25-years-old so he should mature into a better player defensively.
The Blues have the roster to get back into the playoffs this season. With that said, if they happen to miss them again, some major changes may need to occur once the season ends.