Review of 2010-2011: 38-33-11 , 87 Points, 11th In Western Conference, Missed Playoffs
Additions via free agency: Brian Elliot, Kent Huskins, Brett Sterling, Scott Nichol, Jamie Langenbrunner, Jason Arnott, Jonathan Cheechoo, Danny Syvret
Additions via trade: Evgeny Grachev
Subtractions: Chris Porter, Nathan Oystrick, Dean Arsene, Tyson Strachan, Cam Janssen, Ty Conklin
Offense: The St.Louis Blues are looking to mix youngsters with NHL veterans this year. Some veterans brought in via free agency were names like Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner, and Scott Nichol. Arnott brings a balanced offensive game, along with some powerplay skill, that still has a 30-40 point potential. Langenbrunner brings his passing ability, while not very good on the defensive side, he should be pretty useful as long as he has a shooter to set up on his line. Nichol is purely for depth, not much of an offensive upside, can get a few points, but still a hard worker who can win a faceoff or two. Add those together with the likes of Mcdonald, Steen,Stewart, Berglund (all 50 point getters last season) along with Oshie, Sobotka, and you have the makings of quite an offensive threat, given the right line combinations.
Defense: The Blues defense is headlined by youngster Kevin Shattenkirk, who could easily hit the 50 point mark this year. (He had 43 points in his season in Colorado/St.Louis last year.) A new edition to the Blues defense via free agency is Kent Huskins, a well balanced, smart defender who can be a workhorse at times on the ice, and on rare occasion net a goal. Alex Pietrangelo and Carlo Colaiacovo look to be the big point getters on the blue line again this year. It isn’t unrealistic to think Pietrangelo could get to 50+ points this season. Colaiacovo looks to still be useful on The Blues 10th ranked powerplay, where he saw some success last year. Roman Polak and Barrett Jackman still look to be the best defensive defensemen on the team, will definitely have the highest hit and blocked shot numbers.
Goaltender: While Jaroslav Halak didn’t repeat his performance from his Montreal days last year, he was very servicable in the net for St.Louis going 27-21-7. Halak will probably be looking at a little better performance this year, I’m gonna guess in the area of 32-34 wins. The Blues went out and grabbed Brian Elliot on the free agent market as a backup. Elliot had a rough go last year with the Ottawa Senators going 15-27-9. Elliot as a backup should work fairly well, he just isn’t cut out to start. This goaltending duo will be pretty good this year, as long as Halak stays healthy and consistent.
Prediction: (4th In Central Division, 8th In Western Conference)
This team has been getting better, but so has everyone else in the West. St. Louis will see a better overall record, but the playoffs, it is too hard to tell, they could definitely sneak in at that 8th spot, and they could also end up in 9th. A lot of it is going to depend on Nashville and Columbus, if either teams regresses, St. Louis will get in easily, if not, it could be an early golf season for them.
Standout Player: Chris Stewart
While it won’t be something like his Kingston Frontenacs days of 80+ points, this year Stewart should be able to get back into the 50 point range, making a huge difference this year.