The Blues are hoping for another productive season from Erik Johnson.
St. Louis was singing the blues last season. After coming off a promising 2008/2009 season where they finally made the playoffs with a young talented hockey team, the Blues took a step back last year. The horrible start to last season, cost coach Andy Murray his job. Davis Payne replaced Andy Murray but couldn’t pull together the Blues season. If the St. Louis Blues want to improve off last season, they hope that veteran’s Andy McDonald, David Backes, and Brad Boyes can continue to increase their offensive production and lead the young group of players up front.
Last Season: 40-32-10, 90 points, 9th in the Western Conference
Incoming: J. Halak, V. Sobotka, T.J. Hensick, N. Oystrick
Outgoing: C. Mason, K. Tkachuk, P. Kariya
Reason For Hope: The fate of the Blues season relies on new goalie Jaroslav Halak. The question every hockey fan has: Can Halak pick up where he left off from the playoffs? Jaroslav was a MONSTER in the playoffs for the Habs and was a big reason why the team made it to the third round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Halak shut down deadly snipers; Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, and Backstrom. Now he has a new job and new situation. Halak will have to backstop a team that will be on a team that will struggle to make the playoffs, similar to the scenario in Montreal. The pressure is on for Halak to lead this young Blues team. Halak will have some help, as the teams blueliners are pretty solid with Brewer, Johnson and Jackman leading the defence core. Also St. Louis fans have some exciting youth that can hopefully have breakout seasons. The Blues management will hope Erik Johnson, Alex Pietrangelo, David Perron, Patrik Berglund, and TJ Oshie can continue to develop and get improve their games, as the Blues can hopefully pull the team out of re-building mode.
What Could Go Wrong? : This offseason the Blues lost Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk on offence and didn’t find any replacements. The Blues are expecting Perron, Berglund, and Oshie upfront to step up and play bigger roles this season. GM Doug Armstrong could look like a genius giving the young players bigger roles and thriving or an idiot rushing his youth and studding there growth. Really there isn’t much other of a choice. I see St. Louis taking a bit of a hit offensively this year and as a result I predict the Blues to fall a few spots. I also believe that Halak won’t live up to his hype and his playoff form. All good things come to an end and the Habs traded him while his stock was high.
Prediction: 7th-10th in the Western Conference