When you’re a team that has been consistent and successful for the last several seasons, it is sometimes hard to realize when their good run is over.
The St. Louis Blues fall into this category. For the last five or six seasons, the Blues have been one of the league’s most consistent clubs.
They’ve been competitive in one of the league’s best divisions, they’ve made the playoffs, they’ve won a few rounds and in 2017, they went to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the San Jose Sharks. Sure, they obviously did not win a Cup, but nevertheless, they were a good hockey team.
Last season, however, was when the wheels started to come off. After getting off to a great start, their play slipped in a big way and it ended up costing them in the long run as they failed to make the playoffs.
This season, it appears that they are due to suffer the same fate. Yes, it is only December and yes, there are still four months to turn things around, but in looking at this team as a whole, the good days for them are far gone.
There are three reasons why the Cup is far off for this team. The first one is goaltending.
This team simply does not have what it takes between the pipes to be relevant when it matters most. I’m talking about Jake Allen.
Allen, despite the Blues continuing to think otherwise, is not the answer for this team in goal. He’s been awful this season season as he is currently 8-8-4 with a 3.12 goals against average, a .900 save percentage, and one shutout.
Yes, before last season, his numbers were actually pretty good and he showed a lot of promise as someone who could be the man in goal for this hockey team. Unfortunately for both him and the Blues, he’s not good consistently enough to earn that title whether it is now or in the future.
Secondly, the division they are in is going to hold them back from ever being in the top three or even in a wild card spot. When you’re in a division that has the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild all in front of you, there is no way that you are going to catch any of them in the standings.
What’s more is that teams like the Predators, Jets, and Avalanche all have a wide open Cup window. These teams are young, fast, have depth, and all have a chance to win the Cup in at least the next three seasons.
The Blues do not even belong in that conversation. In reality, this team isn’t even a factor in this division.
Lastly, the roster they have right now simply is not built to win a Cup. They’re not that young, they’re slow, they do not have a lot of guys that can put up a lot of points, and again, their goaltending is not good enough to get them into the playoffs, let alone win a Cup.
This team may not need a full rebuild, but their roster needs to be seriously tweaked in order to become a contender again. It will be up to general manager Doug Armstrong to figure out what needs to be done in order to get them to a level that can compete with the rest of the division and the league as a whole.
If you’re a Blues fan, you probably realize all of this already. If you’re a Blues fan and think that they can win the Cup this year, it’s time to take the blinders off and realize that if you want your favorite team to win their first Cup, things need to change and a new future needs to be planned out because right now, a Cup for this franchise simply is not in the cards.
*Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch