Blues Upcoming Season: Should We Be Skeptical or Optimistic?

Posted: August 29, 2016 in Blues, Local Sports, Local Sports News, National Sports News, NHL News

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The St. Louis Blues played in the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2001 last season. This season the Blues look to expand on the recent success and use their youthful lineup to win their first ever Stanley Cup.

Here are four reasons for fans to be optimistic:

1. Vladimir Tarasenko continues to be an elite force in the NHL:

Tarasenko led the Blues in goals (40) and points (74) last season. He is my prediction to be the next 50 goal scorer in the NHL. Not much more to say about an elite talent such as him.

2. Jaden Schwartz needs to become a leader

Schwartz signed a five-year, $26.75 million dollar contract on July 15th. This shows the level of faith the Blues have in him. He did have an ankle injury last year that limited him to 33 regular season games. On the positive side of last year, he had 14 points in 20 playoff games so the Blues are hopeful that he can keep his level of play elevated to what he showed in the playoffs.

3. Robby Fabbri continues to build on solid rookie year

Fabbri had 15 points during the Stanley Cup Playoffs while he had 18 goals and 19 assists in the regular season. This kid has a large amount of potential and I’m excited to see what the Blues do to utilize him even more this upcoming year!

4. Goaltending Depth

Even with the loss of Brian Elliott, the St. Louis Blues retained their depth at the goaltender position with the signing of Carter Hutton. Hutton, who spent the last 3 years with the Predators, went 33-24 with a 2.56 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. The 30-year-old has seen his share of games and, heaven forbid, Allen gets hurt again the Blues have a solid backup to carry the load.

Here are two issues facing the Blues that can cause some fans to be skeptical:

1. Is Jake Allen ready to be a No. 1 goalie?

The Blues said yes signing Allen to a four-year, $17.4 million dollar contract extension on July 1st. Allen is 57-26-7 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 99 regular-season games. He also won a career-best 26 games last season. I’m still skeptical though…. Allen still continues to give up a lot of “easy” goals and he makes mistakes playing the puck. If it weren’t for all of the easy “should have stopped that” goals, I think my comfort level would be much higher.

2. How do the Blues replace the veterans they lost?

The Blues lost a great deal of veteran presence this offseason. Guys like David Backes, Steve Ott, Brian Elliott, and Troy Brouwer are now gone and the Blues did nothing in free agency or trades to add a veteran presence to the lineup. Is this a good or bad thing? We will just have to wait and see if the young leaders step up to the challenge.

Final Impression: Optimistic

I’m optimistic because the Blues always show a lot of talent when it comes to young players and goaltending. Yes, they lost a few key players but I don’t think it’s enough to hold back a talented bunch of young guns anxious to win it all. The Blues always seem to have a strong regular season and I hope that they can continue to move towards their goal of becoming first time Stanley Cup Champions.

 

 

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