The boys are back, the banner is raised, and there are two questions on everyone’s mind. Can they do it again? And is Brett Hull still drunk? The answer to both of those questions is yes.
Some would argue the Golden Brett has gotten enough publicity as of late. So let’s talk about why the Blues can win the Stanley Cup again this year.
They’ve got the best coaching staff in the league. Craig Berube is back as the head honcho and these guys love to play for him. Under chief, the Blues have an impressive 38-19-7 record. That includes their glorious 11 game winning-streak. Without Berube, who knows where the Blues would’ve ended-up come playoff time. He brought a disjointed group together. In Armstrong’s words, Berube “restored their identity and provided them with a clear sense of direction”.
Steve Ott played 122 games with the Blues organization. He worked as an assistant coach last season. Ott was the type of player you loved to have on your team and hated to play against. Arguably one of the best antagonizers the NHL has seen. Even as a coach, I imagine him chirping opponents on the bench. Him and Chief are a deadly duo and they both seem to click with the players.
This summer the Blues added Marc Savard to the coaching staff. He’s an NHL veteran who will work on the powerplay, which is the main area in need of improvement.
Jordan Binnington is a god among men. During the regular season he recorded a .927 save percentage and, like Berube, gave the team a glimpse of hope at their lowest point. He led the NHL in goals against average during the regular season allowing 1.89 goals per 60 minutes. He was solid through the playoffs and his confidence rubbed-off on the squad (what’s a rub off means?). Then he shocked the nation with Game 7 heroics.
The Blues have faced three opponents so far this season and Binnington has a .946 SV%. That's pretty crazy. He's also allowed an average of 1.63 goals per game. I’m excited to see him continue to shine this season.
The Blues are stacked. After dumping Lehtera and Berglund the Blues instantly became contenders in my opinion. With the additions of Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn, and Tyler Bozak up the middle, the team that once lacked skilled centermen now has an abundance of them. Robert Thomas will probably get some cracks at center as well this year. Then you look at our left wingers and you see Schwartzy and Sammy. To the right, Tarasenko and Frenchie. St. Louis has a stacked roster: a scary top six and a gauntlet of grinders.
Their incredible depth will lead them back to the playoffs. St. Louis's depth is a threat on both the offensive and defensive side. 13 Blues players scored more than 10 goals in the 2018-19 season.
Look, repeating as Stanley Cup champions is undoubtedly difficult. But there’s a very small chance the Blues will be in last place midway through this year. They’ve been the best hockey team in the world since January and brought back a nearly identical roster with the addition of one of the NHL’s best young defensemen.
Call me crazy, but I guarantee another St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup in the next three years.
Why not this year?