The St. Louis Blues were 'singing the blues' last season when they missed out from playing in the playoffs by a single point to the Colorado Avalanche.
They're hoping to change that this upcoming season.
The reason they feel so confident is what they did in the off-season to strengthen their roster.
- Ryan O'Reilly
- Tyler Bozak
- Patrick Maroon
- David Perron
Four quality (especially O'Reilly) forwards to supplement some already talented forwards like Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, Alex Steen, Robbi Fabbri, and rookie Robert Thomas should show some positive results.
That equals a formidable forward line and should encourage all Blues' fans hoping for a better outcome than their one-point deficit of playing in the postseason last year.
Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri - Ryan O'Reilly - Alex Steen
Patrick Maroon - Tyler Bozak - David Perron
Ivan Barbashev - Robert Thomas - Dmitrij Jaskin
Extra forwards: Oskar Sundqvist, Jordan Nolan
Joel Edmondson - Alex Pietrangelo
Vince Dunn - Colton Parayko
Jordan Schmaltz - Robert Bortuzzo
Seventh defenseman: Carl Gunnarsson
Best case scenario:
The new additions to the forward lines help the Blues score better than their depressing 24th position in scoring last season. They are almost assured of bettering their 2.72 goals a game and with the new firepower should be a much better power play team. Last season they were 30th in the man-advantage and that was their downfall.
They are real threat to be right behind the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets in the Central Division. With the Minnesota Wild regressing and the Chicago Blackhawks doing the same, the chance for the Blues to move is better than good.
Vladimir Tarasenko has an exceptional season scoring 40 goals and leading the team in scoring.
Newly acquired Ryan O'Reilly hits the 30-goal mark with 80 points and just fits in well for the Blues after they spent a small fortune ($7.5 million for five years on his current contract) to obtain him, along with a boat-load of players and draft picks.
David Perron continues his excellent two-way play and helps the Blues become a better defensive team while throwing in some goals for good measure.
Ditto with Patrick Maroon who will show veteran leadership on and off the ice.
Worst case scenario:
One of the starting forwards goes down in a major injury.
Goaltending winds up being a weakness since Jake Allen still hasn't found his groove and backup Chad Johnson is only adequate in his relief.
The power play flutters even with the talented forwards on the roster.
The 'rookie' fourth line has its issues and doesn't come through in times of need.
The team fails (for whatever reason) to win important close games and falls short of the playoffs two straight seasons (nah... NOT going to happen).
This is a very different team this upcoming season. With four new forwards alone trying to mesh with new linemates, it could take 10-15 games before everyone is on the same page.
BUT, when they are... look out! This team made some bold moves and should be commended for going for it.
There doesn't seem to be too many teams who can put three top lines on the ice game after game and that should mean more wins, the playoffs and then who knows?
They WILL make the playoffs and if their goaltending can hold up, there seems to be a replacement team on the lurks removing the team further on up north in Chicago.
Two teams headed in completely different directions.
For the St. Louis Blues things couldn't look brighter.
How do you think the St. Louis Blues will do in 2018/19? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to give us a follow on Twitter by searching (@VAVELNHL_ENG).