(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty image)
Expectations run high for the St. Louis Blues every season, only to be met with disappointment early in the playoffs.
In the last 5 seasons, the Blues have only won 1 playoff series. That was against another team (San Jose Sharks) that are infamous for their playoff ailments.
One could argue that the Blues have the talent to go all the way. I think they do. There’s just something the Blues are missing. You can argue that it’s a few different things that hold them back. Leadership, coaching, heart, etc…
Maybe it’s all those things, or maybe not. I’m not here to debate it, only to point out what absolutely needs to happen in order for this team to have success. I don’t care what their problem is, but there is one basic answer to the Blues winning playoff games… Score more goals.
Point your fingers all you want at whoever and whatever, but numbers don’t lie. Backes, Steen, Schwartz, Lehtera, Stastny… Those guys need to figure it out. Take notes from Tarasenko and Shattenkirk if you have to.
Key Players In The Playoffs
David Backes- 29GP- 5G- 8A- 13PTS
Alex Steen- 31GP- 6G- 8A- 14PTS
Jaden Schwartz- 18GP- 2G- 5A- 7PTS
Paul Stastny- 28GP- 9G -10A- 19PTS
Jori Lehtera- 5GP- 0G- 2A- 2PTS
V. Tarasenko- 13GP- 10G- 1A- 11PTS
K. Shattenkirk- 27GP- 2G- 15A- 17PTS
A. Pietrangelo- 26GP- 2G- 10A- 12PTS
I do believe Lehtera and Stastny should have a bit of wiggle room. Jori Lehtera was a rookie in the NHL last season. You can’t throw him under the bus.
Paul Stastny was on a line with Patrik Berglund and Dmitrij Jaskin. Berglund did have a good playoff run by snatching 4 points in 6 games last post-season, still, Stastny had a lesser role with less quality players than he’s accustomed to. Before last season, Stastny had 18 points in 22 playoff games. That’s better than anyone else mentioned above by a long shot.
The trading of Tj Oshie leads to speculation that Stastny will move up to a bigger role, and push Backes to Right Wing. That makes sense, because in no way, should Troy Brouwer be anywhere near the top 6.
So it looks like Doug Armstrong’s master plan was to assure that responsibilities
changed up somewhat next season.
Based on Stastny’s previous playoff success, putting him in the top 6 could help ensure that both lines have a spark of production when it matters most. Tarasenko would be on one line and Stastny on the other. Meanwhile, both lines could also have a defensive quarterback in Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. This, of course, is all speculation. It just makes a lot of sense.
Whatever Ken Hitchcock does with the lines, the key players of the team need to score more goals. Period. If that doesn’t happen, then something a little more dramatic needs to occur in the next off-season.
In all of this, I confidently assume the Blues make it to the playoffs. What happens next is anyone’s guess. What do you think?