Regular Season: The Blues had their problems at times in the regular season, but in the end they rode very solid goaltending to a 4th seed and home ice advantage in the first round.
Playoffs: The Blues won games 1 and 2 at home against the defending champion Kings, taking advantage of a couple of Jonathan Quick miscues. That was about all they could do as the Kings took the next 4 in a hard-fought, low scoring 6 game series.
Ready To Make The Jump: G Jake Allen
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. Tending Goal: Brian Elliott was very up and down at points in the season, while Jaroslav Halak had some injury troubles, which opened the door to Jake Allen to prove that he is NHL quality. The Blues will find themselves in much the same situation as the Senators last season, with 3 quality goaltenders and not enough NHL seats. With the 2 veterans both entering contract years, this will be a situation to keep your eye on.
2. Pietrangelo: Could Alex Pietrangelo and the Blues’ current contract dispute lead to an extended holdout that would hurt both the Blues’ performance as well as Pietrangelo’s chances to play for Team Canada in Sochi. Cooler heads should prevail and Pietrangelo should be back in the fold before the puck drops for real. Should being the key word.
3. Pro Realignment: The Blues’ new division makes them almost a lock for the playoffs. The Central could be the weakest of the 4 new-look divisions and the Blues should feast on their new rivals, except for the Blackhawks.
PROGNOSIS: St. Louis couldn’t have played much better in the playoffs, the were just out- Kinged by the Kings. A return to the post-season and a more favorable in-division first round matchup could lead to an extended playoff run in 2014.
PREDICTION: 2nd Central Division
We have been and will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|
|2||Sept 5||Sept 4||Blues||Sharks|