This will be a weekly article I’m writing about the Blues. I’ll go over all things Blues related. Recapping, looking ahead, address rumors, etc. Enjoy.
The Blues found themselves struggling a week ago, with a losing record of 2-3-1 before taking on the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday at Scottrade. After three consecutive wins against Western Conference teams, the Blackhawks, Stars and Ducks, St Louis still finds themselves in the lower half of the standings, in ninth place.
Don’t let the seeding get you down. Over the last week, the Blues are tied with the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins for longest current winning streak at three games. I fully understand it’s only three in-a-row, and it’s still really early in the season. But, you have to start somewhere. A lot of things will change by season’s end. The Blues are far too good to end this season outside of the playoff picture. Just like the Nashville Predators are not two-seed quality. Things will start to take shape as the season gets deeper. Just like every other season, the cream rises to the top.
What’s impressed me most about the Blues so far is their defense. The Blues are only allowing 24 shots per game, which is second best in the league. They’re also allowing 1.89 goals per game, which is good enough for third in the NHL. Again, I know it’s early. I know things change. But when you give St Louis’ defense the “eye test,” they’re for real. They’re loaded with talent. Jay Boumeester, Alex Pietrangelo, Barret Jackman, Carl Gunnarsson, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jordan Leopold and Ian Cole. They’re all solid D-Men. When Ian Cole is your seventh-best defender, you have something special.
Another impressive aspect of the Blues’ squad this season in the LehteraSteenKo line (Lehtera, Steen, Tarasenko). Since joining forces prior to the Blackhawks game last Saturday, that line has accounted for a total of eight points, highlighted by a Tarasenko hat-trick Tuesday in Dallas.
The only real negative I see so far this season for St Louis is health. Three US Olympians are currently missing time with injuries. David Backes and TJ Oshie are dealing with concussions and newcomer Paul Stastny has been dealing with an upper-body injury for the last two weeks. There’s a chance Backes dresses for the Avalanche game this Saturday, But Oshie will remain out indefinitely. If and when the Blues get healthy, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to expect them to have one of the fiercest, most feared offensive attacks in the league.
The final thing I want to address is improving the team. There have been murmurs that Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos could be on the move, and that St Louis is a possible destination. Sure, Stamkos would be a nice addition to any team. But, what would St Louis have to part with in order to get him? This is a guy that netted 60 goals a few years ago, and has clipped 90 plus points three times in his career. You see this a lot with the St Louis Cardinals. There are good players on the trade market, but they don’t want to part ways with their talented youth to get them. In turn, the Cardinals seem to be more competitive for a longer period of time. I think if the Blues made a push for Stamkos, they’d have to get rid of some pretty good young talent. Jori Lehtera, Dmitrij Jaskin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Maxim LaPierre. You would most likely see two of those players and some prospects moved to Tampa Bay. This early in the season, I’d like to see the Blues hang on to what they have, see how things develop, then go from there.
The Blues are in a good position to make a push for their first Stanley Cup, and in good position to be very competitive for many years to come with the wealth of talented young studs on their roster. The future is very bright in St Louis.
Let’s go Blues!!!