Blues Season Preview

Blues+Season+Preview

Owen Stallings, Staff Writer

On the eve of the St. Louis Blues’ opening night, many questions still hang in the air after the major roster changes this off-season.  Fan favorites including 2019 cup run heroes such as Vince Dunn, Jayden Schwartz, Zach Sanford, and Sammy Blais have all departed. New faces have arrived though, such as trade pieces Logan Brown and Pavel Buchnevich, free agent Brandon Saad, and James Neal via professional tryout.  All the while, alternate captain Vladimir Tarasenko’s future with the club remains shaky.  On the bright side of things, the team farm system has produced exciting prospects on the brink of their NHL debuts such as 2020 first-round pick Jake Neighbours and 2018 2nd round pick Scott Perunovich, who recently received the Hobey Baker Award in 2020(voted on annually for best NCAA Player).  Also, many have linked the Blues as possible suitors for Buffalo’s elite center Jack Eichel. 

In terms of playoff projection, the Blues are only slated at 56.9% odds which seem somewhat low due to the immense forward depth the team has created.  However, the reasoning behind these odds has some truth behind them when lack of traditional defensive depth, and the division/Western Conference as a whole are taken into consideration.  As it stands, the Central division provides strong competition.  The star-studded Colorado Avalanche who are all but guaranteed high seeding in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are accompanied by other exciting teams, such as the dark horse Cup Contender in the Winnipeg Jets, the Dallas Stars fueled by a young and exciting Jason Robertson, and a retooled Chicago Blackhawks squad.  All that is certain, is that there will be real competition to maintain a top-three standing within the division.  Personally, I predict a 3rd in Central or 1st wild card position by the season’s end.