Over the past several seasons, we have seen an enormous amount of transition in the Blues franchise. Since 2004, the Blues have seen 2 owners, 3 Head Coaches, and 2 GM's and now the franchise is for sale yet again. How has this affected the team?
Well, beginning in 05-06, the Blues have wound up with 57, 81, 79, 92, 90, and 89 points in each season respectively, which would indicate a strong pattern of growth over the past 6 years, but not quite strong enough to get the team consistently into the dance.
That being said, considering the almost endless turmoil the team has experienced in recent history, it really speaks to the character of the players and the organization as a whole that they have been able to ice what is, at worst, a reasonably competitive team.
The organization has focused on putting together a well rounded roster for this season, and while the roster may lack truly elite players at any position, there is a tremendous amount of all around depth on the team. The additions of Jason Arnott, Scott Nichol and Jamie Langenbrunner bring a ton of experience and grit to an already gritty, yet youthful squad. With Jaroslav Halak between the pipes and Brian Elliot and Ben Bishop battling for the backup role, this is a team that looks on the verge of becoming a consistent playoff presence in the NHL's Western Conference for the foreseeable future.
My Prediction? 6th or 7th in the West, with 94-98 points.
I know that 6th spot was 99 points in the West last season, but I don't expect the same level of disparity between the Western clubs as what we saw last season.
So, what say you? Are the Blues finally ready to take that next step into the post season? Or are they just another bubble team, without the pieces necessary to make a real impact on the tough Western conference?