Upon last night’s victory over the Calgary Flames, Fox Sports Midwest Blues post game host, Pat Parris, challenged Bernie Ferderko with an end of the year round up. The round-up was to feature Ferderko’s choice playersfor Best Rookie, Biggest Surprise, Best Comeback, MVP and Biggest Disappointment regarding the Blues organization. The feature was enjoyable and full of valid opinions and information and got me to thinking; who would agree with every single choice made by Ferderko? Or who might disagree with some of it and why, what would other options or opinions be? To further investigate and garner opinions from fans, Ferderko’s list of choices are as follows:
- Best Rookie: Alex Pietrangelo
- Biggest Surprise: Matt D’Agostini
- Biggest Comeback: Patrik Berglund
- Most Valuable Player: David Backes
- Biggest Disappointment: INJURIES
I’m of the belief that these are sound choices and I’m pretty sure I agree with all of these but, again, there are some solid alternatives. Take for example “Biggest Surprise” could be replaced by any number of the AHL players that saw some TOI with the Blues this season – Nikita Nikitin (perhaps the strongest of the bunch), Ryan Reaves, Chris Porter, Adam Cracknell are all reliable alternatives to possibly hold the title of “Biggest Surprise”. And as for “Biggest Disappointment” injuries were the domino effect to the various downfalls throughout the season but I can already hear fans screaming for the ownership/investor situation to be the champion of big disappointments.
This is the portion in which I ask fans of all kinds to comment; what would your list be? Tweet (@itsjuststarla) or comment about what your choices for best rookie, biggest surprise, biggest comeback, MVP and biggest disappointments were. Remeber: there are no wrong answers because this is strictly opinion based. I’d like to get a more firm idea of where the fans stand regarding the ups and downs of this tumultuous season whether it has to do with the people on the ice, the men coaching, or the guys answering to media or making phone calls to investors. If you’d like to include a few reasons or lines as to why you’re choosing the player or situation it’d be greatly appreciated. Sometime next week after the Blues’ season is officially over (read: no more games) I’ll compile the answers and post an entry as a sounding board and compilation of Blues fans’ discussion and opinion.
To play along I’ll list my picks:
- Best Rookie: Alex Pietrangelo – I personally credit much of the Erik Johnson/Jay McClement trade and the ability to dump Eric Brewer to the breakout development of Pietrangelo. Pietrangelo has made it clear that he was to be a top defenseman with his quality physical play and wicked shot taking skills. Pietrangelo has a high Time On Ice number, and for good reason. Pietrangelo has also been seen sporting an A for a number of games this season – apparently his great play is matched with leadership qualities that are second to none. Pietrangelo has put in 11 goals and 31 assists thus far and has a rating of +18, putting him in the top 35 (despite several ties) in plus/minus ratings. These characteristics that shine through are an asset to any team, especially as a rookie, and the Blues are lucky to have such a valuable young player on their team. Honorable mention: Kevin Shattenkirk.
- Biggest Surprise: Matt D’Agostini – There were too few appearances by D’Agostini in a Blues jersey to really get a good read last season, but he made sure that everything he did well last season carried over to this season. D’Agostini has wowed everyone who has come to Scottrade this season and has, at times, put on a clinic to show off his skills. In 2009 Matt D’Agostini only saw two goals and two assists in the time he spent both with Montreal and St. Louis. This season D’Agostini bolted out of the gates and hasn’t looked back as he scored his 21 goals and collected 45 points and a plus/minus rating of +8. The Blues would do more than well to re-sign D’Agostini over the summer as he is a Restricted Free Agent. Honorable mention: Vladimir Sobotka – Though small his big play makes up for his lack of height. Sobotka’s tenacious style of play makes him the perfect amalgamation of other players on the team like Oshie, Berglund and Perron. He’s not afraid to get along the boards, drive to the net or be feisty and take a hit just to make a play. Sobotka’s skills are a necessity in the Blues power play unit and he is solid on face-offs. He passed his goal mark of last season from 4 to 7 but has made a discernible improvement in his assists from only 6 last season to 22 in 2010-11.
- Biggest Comeback: Patrik Berglund – I won’t lie – I was on board with throwing Berglund to the wolves last off season. Since last year, Berglund has doubled his point total and went from 13 goals in 2009-10 to 22 goals this season. It’s no secret that Berglund is an emotional player and plays his best when teammates who are also close friends light a fire under him but he’s made marked improvements in his play and goal scoring abilities over the last season.
- Most Valuable Player: David Backes – It’s imperative that every team have a fighter, a grinder, a goal scorer, someone who isn’t afraid to get in the middle of a play or fight, someone with a bit of finesse who also displays a mixture of fine leadership skills, care and a special nonchalance. Fortunately the St. Louis Blues have that all wrapped up in one player in the form of David Backes. Backes is the Blues’ leading scorer with 29 goals on the season and a total of 59 points and his plus/minus rating of +28 puts him in the top 10 across the NHL. Backes isn’t afraid to get in any scrap and even when he comes away bloody is a victor; Backes is the Blues’ torch bearer of all things awesome and has superior leadership qualities that (should) make him the forerunner in the Captain debate.
- Biggest Disappointment: This one is a grab bag for me. Obviously the chief concern is the numerable, severe injuries that effected everyone on the roster not just because a few people were hurt, but because nearly everyone on the roster was hurt, out for a few games or placed on IR at some point this season. The investor problem wasn’t necessarily a surprise but a thorn in the side that no team, no matter what position they’re in, wants to be in. The Oshituation was disappointing for sure, but really had no major negative repercussions on the team or outcome of games. Some say that the lack of pants on the mascot Louie Blues is a big disappointment but I don’t really mind because, well…he’s a fuzzy bear meant to occupy already distracted children at games.
Alright fans, now it’s your turn. Remember to comment or tweet me (@itsjuststarla) with your picks and reasons why. Anyone can play along and be a winner. Go!
Post Music: Main Offender by The Hives – “This is what I’ve got and it’s got me sayin’, WHY ME?” Considering I had to choose between all kinds of great players and big disappointing issues like injuries this season I felt like asking “why me?” several times throughout the season. Feel better by rocking out to The Hives.
Topics: Adam Cracknell, Alex Pietrangelo, Bernie Ferderko, Calgary, Calgary Flames, Chris Porter, David Backes, David Perron, Eric Brewer, Erik Johnson, Fox Sports Midwest, Jay McClement, Kevin Shattenkirk, Matt D'Agostini, Nikita Nikitin, Pat Parris, Patrik Berglund, Ryan Reaves, St. Louis, St. Louis Blues, TJ Oshie, Vladimir Sobotka