Yesterday on Bleedin’ Blue, I started a series that will break down the Blues roster, line-by-line, pairing-by-pairing, and obviously goalie-by-goalie. I started with the first line, and while the Andy McDonald- David Backes-Matt D’Agostini line will amount for a large chunk of the offense, the second line should add just as much.
Now for this line, it was chemistry that two players have with one certain player that really brings this line together for me.
When T.J. Oshie missed significant time with a broken right ankle, the production of Patrik Berglund dipped. When Oshie returned, it should be noted that Berglund’s production jumped quite a bit. There is something about it when these two players are on the ice together that make them click.
Yet when the Blues acquired Chris Stewart around the trade deadline last season, Stewart had quite the connection with Berglund as well. They hooked quite well to put the puck in the net quite a few times.
That’s why my second line combination has to be an Oshie-Berglund-Stewart line.
Oshie, 24, has a lot to prove this season as he signed a one year deal with the Blues this off-season. The organization wants him to show that he is worth a long term deal. Not to mention that he can stay healthy through a full season before committing long term to the American born forward.
Oshie did post solid numbers and near point per game numbers since he came back from injury last season, finishing the year with 34 points in 49 games.
If Oshie wants to cash in, and stay in St. Louis, he needs to have a productive, healthy year. Other wise, his future in St. Louis could become cloudy.
Patrik Berglund will be the man centering this line. Using his 6’4″ 220+ lbs frame, Berglund is a force to be reckoned with no matter where he is on the ice. The biggest advantage his size gives him is his ability to protect the puck. Berglund has proven over the last three years, is when he’s using his size, he is one of the hardest players to knock of the puck.
The Vesteras, Sweden native has a lot to show this season as well. Towards the end of last season, we seen a side of Berglund we’ve never seen. A dominant side. He was the Blues best player at times and he’d use his size, shot, and skill to beat you no matter where you were on the ice.
Then he went to the World Hockey Championships and was, by far, the best forward in the competition. Helping to lead his native Sweden to a silver medal in the process. The Blues are hoping that Berglund can take that confidence into this season and show the kind of player he can be.
Lastly, on the right side of the rink to fill out this line, is Chris Stewart.
Stewart was acquired last season from the Colorado Avalanche, along with defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and a 2nd round pick (Ty Rattie) in exchange for former first overall pick, Erik Johnson, Jay McClement, and a 1st round pick (Duncan Siemens).
Stewart had an impact immediately, scoring two goals in his debut against Anaheim. He also notched 12 points in his first 11 games with the Blues to start. He scored 23 points in 26 games total with the Blues last season. So going into next season with expectations of Stewart to produce should be pretty common knowledge.
Stewart uses his size to his advantage like Berglund does. He is 6’2″, 230lbs and skates like the wind. He’s an exceptional skater for a guy his size. Once he gets moving, he’s like a tank, nearly impossible to stop.
The Oshie-Berglund-Stewart line will likely be the line to match up against the other teams top players as well. Not only do they have superb puck control and offensive touch to their game, all three are responsible defensively as well. Their two-way play allows them to match other teams top lines offensively and defensively as well.
Stick around for tomorrow’s Blues Breakdown blog where I take a look at the Blues third line. One of my picks could surprise you.
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