For the last couple of days, and continuing for the next few days, I have been and will be looking at each team in the NHL and identifying a couple of players in particular that fit into one of two categories based on the once popular kids game, Chutes and Ladders. The players in the “chutes” category will be players who exceeded expectations last season, and will have a difficult time avoiding a slide in the coming season. The “ladder” category will consist of players who are ready to climb a level in their play and step up a notch. Feel free to brows back to see previous teams, and look for more teams in the coming days.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Chutes: Jaroslav Halak/Brian Elliott – The always interesting Blues goaltending situation will take another interesting turn this season with both Elliott and Halak in the final year of their respective contracts. Both goalies are prone to streakiness, and the fate of the Blues will rest on whether or not both of them can stay hot at any one time.
Ladders: Jake Allen: The biggest beneficiary individually from the above mentioned roller coaster is the up and coming Allen. Signed to a 2 year extension (with the first year being 2-way), he is the heir apparent, and if one of the incumbents gets either very cold or injured, Allen could step right in, as he did last year. The climb might be slower than 2013-14, but come fall 2014 I fully expect Allen will be the #1 in STL.