St. Louis Preview (w/Chris Kerber)

Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 3:55 PM
Our Central Division season preview series looks at the St. Louis Blues, one of the team's we'll open the season against this weekend, was a preview from Blues radio voice Chris Kerber.

Health and Halak are the two keys for the St. Louis Blues this season and both will factor heavily in determining their success and potential return to the Playoffs. The Blues have only made the playoffs once since the lockout of ’04-’05 and Blues fans are hungry for extra hockey this season. Prior to the lockout, the Blues had made the playoffs for 25 consecutive years.

Last season the Blues started the season with a 9-1-2 record but the season was quickly derailed by key injuries to their top players. Defensive injuries crept in and then the Blues lost Andy McDonald, David Perron, and TJ Oshie for extended periods of time. David Perron was lost the first week of November on a blatant head-shot from Joe Thornton (Only a two game suspension) and Perron did not return the rest of the season. David Perron has started skating again, but ahs yet to join his teammates on the ice for a full practice.

With depth being tested last season, Blues GM Doug Armstrong added depth this off season. Former Predator Jason Arnott was added at Center, and Jamie Langenbrunner was brought in for depth on the wing. With David Backes, Patrick Berglund, and Jason Arnott now down the middle, the Blues appear to be as big as any team at center. Scott Nichol was also brought in to help a team that struggled in the face-off department.

Defensively the Bleus will need t be carried by two second year defensemen, Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. Both finished their rookie seasons last year with 43 points and are poised to be two of the best young puck moving defensemen in the NHL. Kent Huskins was added to bring experience to the core group along with Barrett Jackman, Roman Polak and Carlo Colaiacovo.

Buit again, the key comes down to the play of Jaroslav Halak. Last season was his first full season as a number one goalie in the NHL. He played a career high 57 games and at times was brilliant yet at times inconsistent. The Blues have added veteran goalie Brian Elliot as a back-up but they expect Halak to carry the load. GM Doug Armstrong believes that for his team to be successful, Halak does not need to be the best in every statistical category (although that would be nice), but he does believe Halak will need to be top 10 in the major ones.

If Halak takes a step forward, and the Blues remain healthy with their added depth and wining experience, chances are good Blues fans will once again experience the thrill of Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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