Starting today, I’ll be breaking down the Blues roster, line-by-line so fans know who they’ll be seeing this upcoming hockey season. All of these will obviously be my own opinion on how the roster will fill out, but many will agree with my opinion.
I’ll be starting with the first line. Now when healthy, this line changes quite a bit, but since David Perron is currently out with a concussion, the three players to line up on this line are Andy McDonald, David Backes, and Matt D’Agostini.
This line formed mid-way through the season last year for the Blues and was down right magical at times. The veteran in Andy McDonald, the young up-and-coming captain in David Backes, and the break out player for the Blues in Matt D’Agostini.
Playing left wing on this line is the veteran forward and alternate captain, Andy McDonald. His quickness, poise, and playmaking ability really set to tone for this line. He quietly gets into the offensive areas of the ice and uses his patients and passing ability to set up plays in the offensive zone.
McDonald has been an offensive leader for the Blues the last few years. He’s put up near point-per-game numbers two out of the last three seasons. The only downfall to McDonald’s game is his proneness to injury. He’s missed time in three out of the last four season and significant time two out of the last four. When healthy, he’s one of the best Blues players since being acquire in the 2007-08 season by the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Doug Weight, Michal Birner, and 7th round pick.
David Backes takes his spot down the middle, being one of the big three centers the Blues have in their arsenal. He’s coming off a 62 point season which saw Backes notch his second career 30 goal season. Being considered one of the better two way forwards in the game, brings a lot of offensive firepower to this line. His size allows him to dominate in all areas on the ice and his nose for the net gives him a chance to score every night.
Backes, 27 years old, has just been named the captain of the St. Louis Blues and his leadership is what many Blues fans believe will lead the Blues back to the playoffs this season.
Matt D’Agostini will round out this line due to his impeccable speed, shot, and the chemistry formed last season with McDonald and Backes.
Matt D’Agostini was a huge question mark last season for St. Louis. He had scored 12 goals in his rookie year, then his sophomore he notched 2 goals, 2 assists in 47 games between Montreal and St. Louis. He surprised many, by breaking out, scoring 21 goals, 25 assists for a 46 point season in 82 games for the Blues in his first full season with the organization.
His impressive shot and great vision earned him more and more playing time and eventually the 24 year old, Sault Ste. Marie native spent a good portion of the season getting top six minutes for the Blues and he put up impressive numbers to show for it. The Blues are hoping for bigger and better things for D’Agostini this season as he’s shown that he can be an offensive player in this league.
To see dominance this line can have in a game, here is just an example of when all the offensive you need comes from this line. Game 68 against the Montreal Canadiens saw the Blues win 4-1. The first goal scored by David Backes, the second from Andy McDonald and the third from Matt D’Agostini. TJ Oshie finished the scoring with an empty netter to win the game. Here are the highlights from that game.