If there is one team the Detroit Red Wings need to be looking out for in the rear view mirror, it’s the St. Louis Blues, and this year, the Blues are much closer than they appear. No, the Blues won’t contend for a Cup (at least not for a couple more years) but for the time being, they have a real shot at making life hard for the Red Wings in a very weak Central Division.
Everybody’s been down on the Blues since they finished 30th. But with the players the Blues had, they weren’t a 30th place team, which is why the last place season was so frustrating for Blues fans. Certainly, after losing Pronger and Demitra and the meltdown of Patrick Lalime, they weren’t the same team they were, but they still had no excuse to finish dead last. Yes, Tkachuk and Weight are past their prime, but please, they’re not geriatric. (Of course, they way they played you wouldn’t know…)
Andy Murray has turned things around, and even before signing Kariya, the Blues were a dark horse team that could quietly contend for a playoff spot. Sure, we’ve all heard about Lee Stempniak because of the Kevin Lowe RFA rampage, but the Blues are also packing a lot of young talent like David Backes and number one pick Erik Johnson. Look for Brad Boyes to have a good season, especially if he finds himself on the first line with Kariya and Tkachuk. Boyes had an excellent second half under Andy Murray, and even though I liked Wideman, I think JD made the right move to get Boyes. Kariya, Tkachuk, and Weight can still put up solid enough numbers that the Blues should make the playoffs. Could they be a contender? Probably not yet. But could they make the playoffs? Probably, which is quite a turnaround from the Blues’ terrible record.
Still don’t think the Blues are serious? As Adam Proteau pointed out in the Hockey News, the Blues are in the Central. Although they are a good team, Detroit is not the powerhouse they used to be. They are a beatable team, and if Calgary would have had an ounce of discipline, Detroit would have had the better tee times last year. Nashville lost a lot of players, and even after reading some blogs claiming the Preds can still be good, I have my doubts about them. Even if the Preds are any good, I’m not sure they are much better than the Blues. And, as usual, the Hawks and Jackets haven’t done much to improve—which is unfortunate, because I yearn for the return of the Blues killer rivalry with the Hawks, and it’s hard to hate a team that is outright terrible.
So by way of a weak division, and a talented, young roster, the Blues will make some noise. Nobody may be listening yet, but you heard it here first. I can’t wait to drop the puck this season.
we wont be a 110 point team again but i think we will be fighting with you for 2nd in the division and that elusive 6-8 spot in the conferance come next april
I wouldn't rule Chicago out either, they've made some decent changes as well. Okay, maybe. Sort of. Kind of. A little.
I think it will be close but nashville should end with a better record than columbus. They lost a lot in the offseason but they should still be in the bottom half of the playoff picture. I also think the Blues will be in the playoff race. Great job by my man JD. But there is no real competition for detroit who pretty much stayed the same.
Wings,Ducks,Sharks,Stars,Canucks and Avalanche, Should all be locks for post season. Oilers,Flames,Kings, Predators, and the wild Should be battling for spots 7, and 8. Blues,Hawks just miss out and battle for 9th and Columbus, and pheonix for last place.
The Oilers and Kings ahead of the Blues? I would agree with you on the locks for the post season and probably throw Calgary into that group. But I think the Oilers, Predators, Wild and Blues are all fairly even contenders for the last couple of spots. The Kings may be in that group for the last spot, but I think they might be a couple years off a playoff spot still.
SLATS 25 AND JAMMER 21- The Wild are ready to step up and be solid the next two years and beyond. I really think the Wild-Avalanche, Sharks and the Flames will be in the top 4. My Wild will be 3 or 4, and they will win the cup maybe this year, but if not this year next year.... If you think I am tripping ask yourself how long is should it take for Riseburough and Lemaire to cash in with the roster they have been growing over 7 years now...... Talking about the Wild in the same breath as a 7 or 8 playoff spot is foolish talk
The Blues took 2 points from some teams last season who came to play with the "it's only the Blues" attitude. I know the Blues surprised a few teams last season. I'm not sure these teams will be as surprised this season, but I agree with you jammer21 that the Blues are one of the Dark Horses this season. As far as the Preds go, I don't believe their season will be as good as last because of all that they have lost, BUT I do not think the Preds will finish last in the Central Division.