2015-16 Central Division Preview: St. Louis Blues
2014-15 record: 51-24-7 (109 points)
1st place in the Central Division, 1st(t) place in the Western Conference
Goals For: 248
Goals Against: 201
Power Play: 22.3% (4)
Penalty Kill: 83.7% (7t)
Team Faceoff Pct: 53.4% (2)
Key Offseason Moves
2015 Top Draft Pick: Round 2 – Pick 56 – D Vince Dunn
Additions: Troy Brouwer, Kyle Brodziak
Subtractions: TJ Oshie, Barret Jackman, Zbynek Michalek, Chris Porter, Chris Butler
- Are the Blues better or worse heading into 2015-16? WORSE
St. Louis could have blown things up this summer after an ugly playoff departure. There were players who needed to get paid, and disappointment can lead to significant changes.
But Ken Hitchcock will return, as will most of the Blues roster. The biggest surprise this summer was TJ Oshie being dealt to Washington for former Blackhawks forward Troy Brouwer, a move that adds more size to the Blues up front but slows them down as well. Some of the money saved when Oshie was moved was immediately spent on another young star; Vladimir Tarasenko signed a massive extension, which appears to be a very good value deal for both sides.
Health has been the biggest issue for the Blues at the end of the last few seasons, but they’ll begin the 2015-16 season banged up. The news this summer that Jori Lehtera was having ankle surgery and now that Patrick Berglund will miss at least four months clouds the beginning of the season in St. Louis.
Why are the Blues “worse” than last year? Because they’re essentially the same team they were last year, with the only significant changes up front being Brouwer and Brodziak.
- Will St. Louis be a playoff team this year? Probably
The Blues are still a good, deep team. But beginning the season with Berglund missing because of a significant injury and Lehtera working his way back from an injury of his own won’t help things. Healthy, this is a playoff team… but lingering health concerns open the door for another team to get hot early and make thing interesting.
15 thoughts on “2015-16 Central Division Preview: St. Louis Blues”
Minnesota did us a huge favor by knocking StL out of the playoffs. It would have been very difficult to win the cup had we had back to back physical series with the Blues and Ducks.
I’m not sure the Blues won’t be marginally better because although Oshie is a better offensive player than Brouwer, Brouwer is more of a team-first kind of player which I think will help the Blues be a better team. Plus Brodziak is a guy that has traditionally played well and hurt the Hawks so I would give the Blues a slight uptick going into this season.
Tarasenko gets the recognition, and deservedly so, but I’d be surprised if Jaden Schwartz doesn’t have a big year and give the Blues a dynamic one-two punch they have been lacking the last few years.
Plus, I thought I saw the Sobotka was coming back. Maybe I’m mistaken?
That completes the Central Division Rivals. Very nice write ups and summaries Tab. Thanks for this. Stepping back I really don’t see any real earth moving changes with the six of them nor do I think they have the right stuff to dethrone the Blackhawks. Stan, Q and our winning team’s combined experience will defeat these teams in the playoffs.
Colorado-nope, no way, Ebony is right, Roy is the reason and he could get frustrated.
Dallas- this is the only team I am picking to move forward and be better. They have improved and will be a threat to the others but not us.
Minnesota-no,no,no…Dubnyk abberation, don’t like Yeo, not a playoff calibre bunch at all
Nashville-going backwards, way back, way way back. Rinne as well. If they get into playoffs maybe we will have to up our handicap and spot them 5 goals instead of three and put in our third string goalie instead of our second.
St. Louis- doomed, nix, not even. Same bat coach, same bat team.
Winnipeg- squeezed into playoffs by luck, happenstance and opportunity…they are also going backwards and Buff is out of shape this year. Backwards for sure.
We are the ones with the exciting and better changes. The division has not kept pace with us.
The Pacific Division is a different story…Fear Anaheim and Calgary..maybe LA a wee bit, maybe Edmonton coming on but thats it, Arizona, Vancouver and San Jose bottom dwellers.
Crickets again. You would think its a long weekend or something! It’s certain we will get some breaking news this week regarding grand jurys and maybe what happens at training camp. Perhaps our guy will request a leave of absence. Also maybe some movement on the trade front for us and others around the league.
Hockey is an emotional sport. So much of it is mental. I see the Blues and the Wild in some very risky positions. They seem primed to have disaster type seasons if you look at their recent history.
Just look at what happened last year with the Kings and Bruins.
I also say the Blues are a “Probably” playoffs team, but the question mark doesn’t come from injuries or roster depth. It comes from the rationale ‘this bubble might burst any minute now”. Same with the Wild who were very close of quiting if not for the Dubnyk boost.
Ah my favorite punching bag the Sad Sack Blues. Webster defines Sad Sack as “a person who is not successful or able to do things well : an inept person who causes feelings of pity or disgust in other people.” that pretty much sums up the organization.
1st their goatending, BAD. Jake Allen and Moose Elliot are NOT top flight NHL goalies. Allen got exposed badly in the playoffs last season. Jake Allen has once in his playing career posted better then a 900 save percentage in the playoffs (que the sad trombone) and that was last season 904. Thats not going to cut it. Some how management thinks this duo is a good idea.
2nd their “core” which as failed repeatedly is now a year older and probably worse. Add to that they have a few guys banged up and one of their few good players is apparently being shopped. Shattenkirk is on the market because they decided to pay Jay Boumeester instead. Bad decision.
3rd organizational stupidity; this team says and does dumb things year after year. Please don’t change a thing STL I love the stupidity from down south, it is priceless ! How about this gem from their GM keep in mind the St. Louis Blues didn’t make big changes this off-season, but GM Doug Armstrong’s still hoping to bring in the “first of many” Stanley Cups. Thanks captain clueless. You have to wonder how many bites at the apple this group gets?
My only thought is the Sad Sack White Sox somehow managed a worldseries win despite being clueless so sometimes “things happen”.
My division recap
Dallas-slightly better but still bad
As usual, nice analysis Tab. As for the Blues, whatever fans think doesn’t mean diddly squat to what will happen with personnel. However, the Blues fans I know wanted Berglund to be gone before Oshie, and were waaay bent out of shape when Oshie got traded. Now Berglund is out for significant time. Slow out of the gate could really get them in a hole, and also get the fan base grumpy. Hitchcock under a lot of pressure this year. Their D is going to have to step up.
One of the sad things here is that Tab can not do a preview yet on our own team. Kane’s case moving forward, Kruger in limbo, finding a new home for Bicks etc….I anxiously wait for the team’s issues to be resolved.
LOL I forget the Avs. So my predictions for the division are:
Preds-1st division winning team
Jets-earn home ice
Hawks-keep doing their thing
Blues-Start slowing earn WC
Wild-regress and miss playoffs
Dalls-gets better missed playoffs
Avs-Trade Erik Johnson and still miss playoffs
About the same as last season
It’s so tough evaluating the Hawks right now. They’ve lost 2 top six forwards and a top four D. That should make them worse but we don’t know how the new guys will fit in. Great core but the supporting cast is the key. Panarin hasn’t played a NHL shift so we will have to wait and see. Dano and Anisimov will have to come through to make the team improve. Also need an Oduya replacement and Kane is….
Make that 3 of their top six, and maybe 4. Devastating for most teams.
I can only qualify the Hawks as true contenders based on their previous track record, not on their on ice talent. Saad, Richards and Oduya were all key cogs that will be hard to replace. The good thing is none of these guys were superstars but all were contributors. This team has as many question marks as the 2011 team that was eliminated in the 1st round by the Nucks. I’m confident the Hawks will make the playoffs but not confident in how they will do when they once they are there.
Add in the fact that Hossa, Keith and Seabs are all a year older and Kane off ice problems and this team is not “looking better”. That being said looking better on paper doesn’t really mean much.
SouthSideHawkMan I understand everything you’re saying, but this notion that Keith and Seabs are 1 year older doesn’t make any sense. They’re 32 and 30. They’re in their prime. They just did 2 months ago a 55 minutes/game average playoff run.
You had me looking all over for this link. I think you might went to recalibrate your thoughts about “prime” for defenseman. I couldn’t remember the magic number, its 32. “After 30 or 31, things tend to hit the skids, and hit them hard.”
Keith is a freak and is an exception to the rule. He’s in the same class as Chara, Scott Niedermayer and other generational talents. However, Seabs plays a physically game and been through a TON of hard minutes. Specially hard playoff mins like last year. If the Hawks were wise they would see what they have in Seabs in the 2nd half of the season and then make a decision on moving him. If a team like Edmonton, Buffalo, Winnipeg, Colorado, Dallas gets desperate I make that move. It would suck to see Seabs in the division for another 18 months but the long term value is worth it.
I was all for resigning him but the more this offseason has played out I’m not sure that’s wise.