Ladies and gentlemen, we are less than a month away from meaningful hockey once again filling our lives with joy. The Central is poised to be home to some truly great teams, and as with every year, it’s truly a toss-up as to who will wear the division crown come April.
With the clock winding down towards a new season, let's get you back to that special hockey feeling by taking a quick look at each team in the division and what you can expect from their next 82 games. Here are your 2018-19 St. Louis Blues.
How Did Last Year Go?
Well… you can’t say it wasn’t exciting. The Blues started out the year on fire, winning 20 of their first 30 games. Then the franchise angered a gypsy and every single player on the roster suddenly went down with an injury. St. Louis struggled find consistency from that point on. Despite this, all the Blues had to do in order to make the playoffs was not lose to the Colorado Avalanche in the last game of the year. Colorado was the worst team in hockey a season before. Easy peasy, right?
What The Hell Happened?
The Colorado Avalanche went to the playoffs. The blue lines must be a little thicker in the Pepsi Center. You can’t pin all of this on the closest offsides non-call of the season. On six different occasions St. Louis lost at least three straight games, including a seven-game losing streak and a four-game losing streak in the last week of the regular season. The optimism of the first half of the season was decimated by injuries, weird bounces and a single game where one team clearly wanted to go to the playoffs more than the other.
Jeez, Was There Anything Else?
The whole season played out like it was influenced by a monkey paw. Alex Pietrangelo looked like a Norris finalist, then gets injured. Martin Brodeur abandoned nervous Chihuahua Jake Allen. Carter Hutton looked like a real starter… until he was injured. Jordan Schmaltz battled concussions. Zach Sanford got a single day of training camp before missing the season. Robby Fabbri didn’t even get to play. Paul Stastny was traded for a 1st and 4th round pick… only for St. Louis to get back into the playoff hunt. And in that infamous final game of the year, where they desperately needed Stastny, Vladimir Tarasenko nuked his shoulder, ending any real chance they had at advancing.
Did Anything Good Happen?
While on the ice, Alex Pietrangelo looked amazing. Brayden Schenn was an instant success coming from Philly, leading the team in points and assists. Tarasenko hit 30 goals for the 4th straight season. GM Doug Armstrong made this team better in every single move made, including the Stastny deal.
Did They Get Any Worse?
If you’re a Blues fan, you have to do some serious praying that Jake Allen can play better than he’s played during his stint with the team, because Carter Hutton found himself a true starting position in Buffalo. Enjoy learning who the hell Chad Johnson is after Allen cracks and refuses to come down from the top of the arch. Other than that wild gamble, this team most certainly is not worse.
Are There New Faces This year?
Patrick Maroon will continue the proud tradition of St. Louis signing the slowest free agent on the market.
Ryan O’Reilly is thrilled there are no Tim Horton’s in Missouri.
David Perron is back because bringing ex-players back always works (ask Chicago!)
Tyler Bozak is obviously a good decision maker, choosing to leave Toronto and not play with John Tavares.
What’s Going To Happen This Year?
St Louis is going to win a lot of hockey games. Adding Bozak and O’Reilly has made the Blues formidable down the middle. Everyone who was fighting injuries at the end of the year is looking healthy, even Tarasenko. If they can stay healthy, this team will have taken a big step towards becoming a legitimate Stanley Cup contender in a conference full of them. All that being said, Jake Allen is still the starting goalie. I just don’t know how you feel good about that. Might want to start googling Chad Johnson. No, the other one.
“Clubber, What’s Your Prediction For The Fight?”
50-21-11 2nd in the Central The Blues manage to stay healthy and their new and improved roster compensates for any hiccups their netminding situation induce. They’re going to be good, my friends. At least if they’ve destroyed that monkey paw from last year.
There you have it, folks. Next up, the Colorado Avalanche.