With the St. Louis Blues home opener scheduled for less than a month away, we, as Blues fans, should be waiting for the NHL premiere of Vladimir Tarasenko and the proud moment when we get to lift a championship banner to the rafters, but instead Vladi is in Russia and the banner is probably getting hung up without a celebration.
So, what is there to do during the lockout? We could all pick up a copy of NHL 13, but, in case you haven’t already, Tarasenko is not in the game yet. We do however still have Coco and Arnott on our team still… Thanks EA for not getting the rosters a proper update and keeping the one player I waited so long to see in a game still not in the game.
So instead of talking about the lockout, a possibly missed season, or anything else that will make me want to pull my hair out, let’s discuss the future of the St. Louis Blues.
If we go by the EA Sports model, the Blues are in rough shape going into the future, but I don’t see that being the case.
Tarasenko is sure to be a star, he has quick hands and hockey sense. With the help of guys like Backes, Oshie, Perron, MacDonald, and others, Tarasenko is going to grow into a real threat for the Blues. I know the organization doesn’t want to put much pressure of the 20 year-old, which is good, but this guy has the potential to be our next Hull (only we would have drafted this one).
On defense, the Blues picked up Woywitka, talk about a blast from the past, but I don’t see a good pairing for Pietrangelo on the roster still. Shattenkirk is a great player, but I don’t see him lining up with Petro, I think instead, we have to find them proper blueline partners so moving into the future we have two great top defensive pairs.
Everyone is talking about Cole being the 6th defender and Woywitka playing in Peoria, not necessarily a bad idea, but I think with Hitch behind the bench Woywitka may be good enough to be on the bottom pairing. While I think it would be great for Cole to get more NHL experience, the progress that Petro made taking his time has made me a firm believer in trusting the development process. The same for Cade Fairchild, who should see some limited ice time given the injuries that are sure to occur (if we have a season)
I know a lot of people can’t stand Jackman, but I think he more than earned the right to come back and stay with the only team he has known. He is a great defender and has been underrated for a long time. The real problem for the Blues in the past was Eric Brewer and after his departure Jackman was an easy target. The guy can still play the game and gives Cole and Fairchild time to develop while being more than serviceable.
Offense is the really interesting part going forward with the Blues. As I said Tarasenko is sure to be something else, but what about the others. Look at what Perron and Steen did last season with limited time and imagine a full season. If the season were to start on time and the two could stay healthy, they are both capable of putting up 50+ points seasons.
Oshie has developed nicely and has continued to be the fan favorite. His production last season was great at over 50 points, but without having a solid line or partners to play with, I think it was a little stunted. Backes and Oshie together led the team in points, but they can both produce more. Without injuries look for these two to step up even more.
Chris Stewart is an interesting case as well, having scored 28 goals two seasons in a row, Stewart’s production seemed to have completely stopped last season. Reports are saying now, though, that he is in the best shape of his life. I sure hope so as Stewie was the kind of guy I always said the Blues needed, big, strong, and can score.
There are many other prospects the Blues will be conditioning as well this season. Jaden Schwartz is obviously another great look into the future of Blues hockey, but he is still a season or two from being on the top lines.
What do you all think? Who are you most excited to see when the season starts. Do you think the Blues will finish at the top of their division again? Can they win the West? Can they win the Cup, and if so, when?
Thanks for reading all. This is my first post and I am looking to start covering the Blues regularly so keep in touch and make suggestions.