We all know that the Blues are hoping to take a step forward and back into the playoffs this season, but what will have to happen if the team is going to take that next step? Here are a few things that have to happen if the Blues are going to head back to the promise land in 2010-2011.
1. Goaltending- I’m not one of those guys who wants to blame Chris Mason for anything that happened last season, and actually I think he did a pretty good job overall. With that being said, I think Jaroslav Halak has the potential to do something that Mason couldn’t consistently: win games in the third period. The blown leads certainly weren’t all Mason’s fault, but sometimes a young team like this needs a goalie who will step up to that next level late in the game. Halak proved last season that he is at his best under pressure, and if he wins a couple of those games for us, this team could be much better this season.
2. Front-line Scoring- It’s imperative that someone on this roster steps up as a major goal-scorer in the upcoming season. There has to be a player on this team that everyone else can rely on to score a big goal when it’s needed. You have to look at two players for this role: David Backes and Brad Boyes. Both players have done it in the past, and both guys have the potential to do it again. I’m especially looking to Backes to have a major year in 2010-2011.
3. Youth Maturity- This team is still young, but it’s getting to a point where we can’t blame the youth anymore. These guys have been around, and it’s time for everyone to be held accountable. Guys like Patrick Berglund, TJ Oshie, and Erik Johnson all need to ascend to the level we expect them to play at. I’m not saying these guys were bad last year, but i think they can all be better. I really think this could be the year Johnson becomes an elite NHL defenseman, and if he does we could see a completely different squad.