Cleat Geeks

St. Louis Blues: 2015-16 Season Projection

2014-2015 Overall Record: 51-24-7 (109 Points) 2nd in the Western Conference

***Lost in GM6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal to the Minnesota Wild***

BLUES TEAM LEADERS

St. Louis Blues: 2014-2015 Team Leaders

Notable Offseason Losses:

F T.J. Oshie (New Team: Washington Capitals)

D Zbynek Michalek (New Team: Arizona Coyotes)

D Barret Jackman (New Team: Nashville Predators)

D Brent Regner (New Team: Florida Panthers)

F Chris Porter (New Team: Philadelphia Flyers)

F Adam Cracknell (New Team: Vancouver Canucks)

Notable Offseason Acquisitions:

F Troy Brouwer (Former Team: Washington Capitals)

F Kyle Brodziak (Former Team: Minnesota Wild)

D Andre Beniot (Former Team: Buffalo Sabres)

Main Team Stats Breakdown:

GFA (Goals For Average): 2.87 (NHL Ranking: 5th)

GAA (Goals Against Average): 2.36 (NHL Ranking: 4th)

SV% (Save Percentage): .912 (NHL Ranking: 14th)blues1

Since the 2011-12 season, the St. Louis Blues continue to be known for their regular season success; leading in one of the hardest Divisions in the NHL, as one of the two best teams in the Central heading into the Playoffs. The Blues however, are just as well known for their Playoff inconsistencies each year, as they continually fail to prove they’re among the league’s elite. At the end of last season’s horrible Playoff ousting by the Minnesota Wild, the consensus was that there would be quite a few moves made by the front office before the start of next season. Not only did this not occur, but many were left very disappointed by the lack of noise made by the organization.

 

Vladimir Tarasenko (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY)

 

With the salary cap an issue throughout the NHL, it was difficult finding key pieces to fit each organization. This was no different for the St. Louis Blues. Someone like Phil Kessel was out of reach financially for St. Louis, as their efforts were focused on resigning All-Star, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera. It still begs the question; with so few players to choose from, why weren’t the more financially feasible (and beneficial) players to the likes of Milan Lucic or Justin Williams viable options to go after? Another question that will be playing on the strings of Blues fans this upcoming season, is whether Doug Armstrong really got enough in return for T.J. Oshie.

 

hitchcock babcock

Longtime friends Ken Hitchcock (left) and Mike Babcock, (right) back in 2009 during Team Canada’s Olympic men’s hockey orientation. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

 

Furthermore, the Blues negatively made headlines throughout the NHL by trying to sway longtime Red Wings head coach, Mike Babcock, into coming to St. Louis to replace Ken Hitchcock. Not only did this backfire, but St. Louis then went back to Hitchcock and agreed on a one year extension. It is obvious that Hitchcock knows how to win; however the poor showing of the organization to look elsewhere publicly, shows a lack of confidence in his ability to lead the Blues on the ice and in the locker room (especially during the Playoffs).

 

ELLIOTT ALLEN

St. Louis Blues Goalies: Brian Elliott and Jake Allen

 

Another key distraction for the Blues, is who will be the starter in net for St. Louis? Will it be Brian Elliott, who has never received the confidence from Hitchcock or the organization as a whole? Or will it be Jake Allen, who continues to be more than impressive, only to show signs of lacking confidence at the most inopportune times in his very young career? While Elliott is much better than he’s given credit for, Allen continues to improve. If he keeps on track throughout his career, he shows signs of one day being an elite goaltender. St. Louis is known for goaltending controversies, as they’re always looking elsewhere; as if the grass is always greener on the other side, instead of focusing on the talent they have in front of them. Ben Bishop is a prime example of this. It would be hard not to conclude that under different leadership, both of these goalies could quite possibly flourish elsewhere if given the full opportunity to do so.

 

St. Louis center Jori Lehtera looks on from the bench as the final seconds of the game tick away in the Wild's 4-1 victory at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Sunday, April 26, 2015.  (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

St. Louis center Jori Lehtera looks on from the bench as the final seconds of the game tick away in the Wild’s 4-1 victory at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Sunday, April 26, 2015. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

 

St. Louis definitely has the makeup to be a true Stanley Cup contender. With that being said, their overall Playoff performances cannot be ignored. The Blues fail to give full effort while finding themselves outmatched by opponents that simply show they want it more. Until St. Louis performs during the Playoff’s like they do during the regular season, expect another outstanding year of hockey, concluding with another Playoff flop and an outraged fan base.

2015-2016 Season Projection: 1st in the Central Division

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