We all expected the Blues to come into this season and be Cup contenders. So far, they haven’t even come close to what our summer expectations were. They sit in 12th place in the Western Conference.
It’s well documented that Jake Allen is having himself an even more Jake Allen-y year than usual. He’s never really been a true number 1 for the Blues, but it’s undeniable that he’s been serviceable most of the time, albeit letting in weak goals along the way, until this year. This year, despite sprinkling in solid games here and there, he’s been brutal in goal and his stats show it. Would the Blues be in playoff contention with a different goaltender? No, the offense has been atrocious, the defense has been shaky, and the coaching staff doesn’t seem to be addressing the problem areas effectively. That being said, Jake Allen has cost the team wins consistently in 2018-19, which has not happened before. So, why?
Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That’s exactly what the Blues have done with Jake Allen. His inconsistency and deflating goals against have been a problem in the past - and this season it hasn’t been any different.
Vladimir Tarasenko, superstar of the Blues, has 10 goals and 21 points through the team’s first 32 games, good for second in points and third in goals among St. Louis skaters. His production is down from recent years, as he’s on pace for only about 54 points and 25 goals, which would be his first season in the last five without reaching the 30 goal plateau. Only 10 of these points have come at 5v5, making Vladdy’s production even more grim. Trading Tarasenko would be a huge mistake. Here's why.
Vladimir Tarasenko has proven he's an elite scorer in the NHL, but with the team's recent struggles, it might be time to explore trading the former 40-goal scorer. Here's why.
Tyler Bozak wanted to sign a long-term deal this offseason. Doug Armstrong is knowingly overpaying him at a shorter term. Here's what you should expect from him.
Two years ago I wrote an article about whether Vladimir Tarasenko was on track to becoming one of the greatest Blues in history or not. To be honest, it’s still pretty early to give a definitive answer to this question, but it’s the perfect time to review his progression.
Every Blues fan has their own take on Jake Allen. Newly-signed backup Chad Johnson has a solid backup resume (including more consistent success in large roles than ex-Blue Carter Hutton). However, neither of these netminders elevate the team to the level that the forward core and top defensemen are ready to reach. Which leads me to this: the case for Ville Husso to start at least 25 games in 2018-19.
I've never felt this confident in a team that I've never seen play. Apparently Doug Armstrong has been studying wizardry in his free time because the moves he made this off-season were nothing short of wicked.
Frustration can be a great fuel for motivation. Last season's exciting start gave Blues fans high expectations, but a combination of inconsistent play and lack of heart seemed to erase whatever momentum the team began.
Blues hockey has been over for a couple months and I still can’t get over Brayden Schenn’s season. Even if he didn’t lead the team in points (which he did), at least the Blues weren’t paying Jori Lehtera $4.7 million to be outscored by Scottie Upshall and Kyle Brodziak.
Predicting how the St. Louis Blues will play is undoubtedly one of the hardest tasks. Throughout the season we've seen slumps and streaks followed by streaks then slumps. The Blues are 9-1-1 this month with a current winning streak of six games. With six games remaining in the season, here are Peter Hempstead's (@petehempstead) game-by-game predictions followed by a few general predictions.
Hockey is back. Early injuries began to scrape optimism from fans, but the Blues are off to a great start. Here are Blues Buzz’s season predictions
Five Blues players are injured and the season hasn’t even started yet. Robby Fabbri’s big return will need to wait another season. Alexander Steen, Patrik Berglund, Zach Sanford, and Jay Bouwmeester are the other impaired. Holes need to be filled, so here are our projected lineups.
We're all waiting to see what comes of the seemingly ever-changing roster on the other side of Blues training camp as the regular season creeps around the corner, the Blues have gone through some significant changes off the ice as well. With the addition of Brayden Schenn and the development of young prospects, the team is now riddled with injuries. Aside from the new faces trying to break the lineup, there are several new faces behind the bench and at the front office.
With opening night just days away, I'm excited to announce some information regarding the future of this blog and our brand. We appreciate everyone who has followed our work—you've put us in a position to expand Blues Buzz.
There has been quite a bit of chatter about rule changes for the upcoming 2017-2018 NHL season, especially with the first batch of pre-season games in the rearview mirror. More specifically, chatter about a new rule involving faceoffs, and stricter enforcement of slashing penalties that will leave many seasoned hockey fans perplexed at the number of whistles being blown this season. Let’s take a second to break down what has changed, what we can expect that to mean for the Blues, and what is going on in the minds of Stephen Walkom (VP and Director of Officiating for the NHL) and his boss, Colin Campbell (Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations for the NHL).
In classic Blues fashion, two players have been injured before the season starts. With a deep selection of substitutes, here are my guesses on who'll fill Zach Sanford and Jay Bouwmeesters' spots.
Brayden Schenn could become the second-line centerman the Blues have been desperately searching for. And if not, at least they aren't paying Lehtera $4.7 million to be outscored by Scottie Upshall and Kyle Brodziak. Schenn brings versatility to the Blues with his ability to play left wing and center.
Are your emotions directly correlated to whether the Blues win or lose? Do you gag when you walk past somebody wearing a Blackhawks jersey? Can you put some sentences together? If so, keep reading.
Robby Fabbri’s return continues to excite St. Louis as we inch closer to opening night. The young forward suffered a season-ending injury after an impressive rookie season, but he's ready to slide back into the Blues’ lineup.
During "Free Agent Frenzy", the St. Louis Blues signed enforcer Chris Thorburn to a two-year, $900k AAV contract. Here are some highlights from his 12 years in the National Hockey League.
Blues fans were tired of Jori Lehtera's high-cost pay for subpar play, but the loss of a fan favorite fourth-liner was hard to swallow. Doug Armstrong and the St. Louis Blues weren't messing around at the 2017 NHL Draft this past weekend.
Correlation is not causation. It is important to remember this when evaluating statistical evidence. The St. Louis Blues won game three in the first round of the playoffs today against the Minnesota Wild. With three games in the book the series is starting to take shape, statistically speaking. One important statistic has emerged thus far overlooked in evaluations of this year’s playoff matchups.
Zach Sanford played over Jori Lehtera in Friday night’s Game 2 against the Wild. Mike Yeo thinks he’s improving as his confidence grows, and Sanford is grateful the Blues are giving him a chance he wasn't given in Washington.
Photo: Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports
Ivan Barbashev, who’s been playing with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz on the Blues’ top line, is a rookie. A few months ago he was playing for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL. While he was nervous for his first playoff matchup (Game 1), he gave Sanford some advice.
“I was a little nervous, but not too bad,” explained Sanford. “I was actually talking to Barbie before the game a little bit and he was like ‘Yeah I was pretty nervous too, but once you get those first two shifts in you’ll be fine’.”
Sanford was traded to the Blues from Washington in the Kevin Shattenkirk trade. As a Capital, he played 26 games and recorded three points. As a Blue, he’s played 13 games and earned 5 points.
“Honestly, I had no clue what to expect here,” said Sanford. “I didn’t know if I’d be here or Chicago or what. I think it’s worked out well and I’ve got pretty comfortable here, which is good."
“A lot of games there (Washington), I was playing fourth line—8 or 9 minutes. Getting that chance to play on the third line for 12 or 13 minutes, some power-play time… I think, just getting those touches and being out there more has helped with my confidence and how comfortable I feel.”
He credits this growth in confidence to why his game has elevated here in St. Louis.
Coach Mike Yeo also thinks Sanford’s game is evolving, and he’s impressed with the way he’s conducting himself as a young, inexperienced player.
“I liked Sanny’s game,” said Yeo of Sanford's performance in Game 2. “He’s a big body with speed, and for a young kid playing in his first playoff game on the road against a team like that… For him to play that way is pretty impressive.”
Yeo said he had a conversation with Lehtera yesterday. He liked how Game 2’s lineup looked, and said not to expect change. While Yeo credits the scratches (Yakupov, Lehtera, Jaskin, Schmaltz) for helping the Blues get to where they are today, Sanford is likely to remain in the lineup over Lehtera in Game 3.