We continue our look at the best St. Louis Blues to wear each number. Now it’s time to get into some more interesting debates.
The St. Louis Blues have plenty of stars to play a game in the note. As we make our trek downward into the lower numbers, now we can make more interesting decisions.
The numbers are still a bit underutilized in the 40’s. Even so, at least there were multiple names to choose from on this portion of the list.
47. Ladislav Nagy
Choosing Ladislav Nagy was a bit surprising since there were four other guys to wear the number. However, when none of them had played more than a season or a handful of games, Nagy gets the pick.
Nagy, himself, only featured in 51 games with the Blues. He was then dealt to Phoenix prior to the trade deadline. The Blues acquired Keith Tkachuk, so it worked out pretty well.
The Czech born player only managed 22 points in his brief St. Louis career. With the Coyotes, he turned into a very reliable player.
Nagy averaged almost 50 points per season in the desert. The trade worked out for all parties, but Nagy remains the best to wear 47 even if it was only for a short time here.
46. Roman Polak
Roman Polak may not have had much competition for the best to wear 46. There were only two others to wear it and neither played even half a season.
Nevertheless, it would have taken someone pretty good to oust Polak from this spot. Despite the lack of fanfare, he has been a good defender and a better teammate through his career.
Fans don’t appreciate his skills as much in today’s game because he’s one of the last of a dying breed. Polak was and is a defense first player.
In over 400 games wearing the blue note, he only managed to score 79 points. That’s because scoring was not in his resume.
Polak only ventures over the half line because the team has possession enough for him to gain entry into the zone. He would be perfectly fine with standing at the blueline and guarding against any counter attacks.
45. Cody Rudkowsky
Neither one played multiple games in the NHL. So, Rudkowsky got the choice since, according to Hockey Reference, he actually got a win in a Blues uniform.
I don’t remember this, but Rudkowsky did play in the early 2000’s. Most of us have tried to forget that time period.
Both players had a game played with the Blues. Rudkowsky didn’t allow a goal though. 10 shots against and 10 saves in 30 minutes.
Rudkowsky barely hung onto games in the AHL and spent most of his time in the ECHL. Even so, he laced them up for the Blues one time and that was enough in this instance.
44. Chris Pronger
If we were looking at overall careers, Gordie Roberts might have had a shot at this. Roberts didn’t spend a ton of time in St. Louis, but he played in almost 1100 NHL games.
There’s absolutely no argument against a Hall of Fame player though. Chris Pronger did enough in a Blues uniform alone to belong in this spot.
In his career, he won a Stanley Cup and went to the finals twice. With the Blues, he played in nine seasons. Pronger also helped the team to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in almost 20 years.
He was the perfect mix for the time period in which he played. He could score, set up goals and play tough defense.
Pronger was accused of taking bad penalties during his time in St. Louis. It was something that would follow him elsewhere too. However, with the game he played and how well he played it, the penalties were acceptable.
The Blues haven’t had too many Hall of Fame guys in this century, but Pronger was one of the best. An argument can be made that he’s in the mix for the team’s best defender ever but that’s an argument for another time.
43. Mike Weaver
Another choice with lots of options but no options when you really get down to it. Seven players have worn 43 in Blues history and Mike Weaver gets it with barely two seasons in the uniform.
Weaver, like Polak, was a defenseman who only focused on defending. 135 games with the Blues and only 17 points were testament to that.
Weaver was always one of those guys on the cusp. He did just enough for there to be calls for him to gain more minutes. However, he didn’t do quite enough or there were just enough bodies in front of him to not get those minutes.
42. David Backes
The only hesitation for putting David Backes on this list is the need to stop mentioning him. It’s almost to a point where we all need to get over the breakup. Let him have his time in Boston and then revisit things afterward.
Still, there wasn’t a case to be made for anyone else other than Backes to wear 42 on this list. Even if he was never the captain, this would be the case.
More from All-Time Lists
- Flashback Friday: Blues Stage Biggest 3rd Period Comeback in NHL History vs Leafs
- St. Louis Blues Top 10 Players of the 2010 Decade
- St. Louis Blues All-Time Best All-Star Team Players
- St. Louis Blues: Who Wore It Best, Jersey Number 10
- St. Louis Blues: Who Wore It Best, Jersey Number 12
Backes never turned into the scorer that Blues fans craved. That was true of his entire core that he came up with.
Backes still was an extremely consistent scorer who tried to leave it all on the ice every game. He averaged 46 points and 20 goals per season in his decade with the Blues.
Interestingly, Backes’ best playoff performance came when he garnered the least ice time. Perhaps he was trying too hard in previous years or perhaps it was just the contract year. Whatever the case, Backes left on his best postseason year.
Backes was a leader even before he received the C. The captaincy was more of a confirmation of that than anything.
In the end, fans are free to remember Backes how they choose. The reality is he had a roller coaster ride with fan sentiment. Regardless, he should be remembered fondly because he did bleed for this city.
41. Jaroslav Halak
I’m going to get lambasted for this one and I don’t care. I don’t care about all the haters and the naysayers.
Quite frankly, there are too many people that don’t understand the position of goaltender that venture opinions on players. That has been the case with so many Blues goaltenders, Jaroslav Halak in particular.
I freely concede that Halak never delivered on the promise he showed in that magical playoff run with the Montreal Canadiens. However, he finished his Blues career with a record of 83-47-19.
Many will argue the team in front of him helped get those wins. You can’t say the team won for Halak and Brian Elliott won his own games though. The same applies to either one.
I’m sure there are analytical numbers to show how bad Halak was, but he only had a goals against above 2.25 once in his time with the team.
There will never be a way to convince Halak haters of his value. Their minds are made up.
He was injury prone and he was a bit surly as time went on. However, in spite of the occasional soft goal, he made some big saves and helped the team win as much as he could.
Jaro isn’t likely to be remembered by many, outside of myself. He was still a Blue and won a lot of games for the team.
40. Bob Bassen
This one is a bit of a cheat. Technically, Bob Bassen wore 28 for the bulk of his time with the team. However, he wasn’t going to get picked at 28, so I’m including him here.
Another part of the technicality is whether he wore 40. Hockey Reference says he wore 28 and 41 with St. Louis. The official team site says he wore number 40 so we are going with that.
Bassen was never a big scorer. He was known more for his grit.
In five seasons with the Blues he only scored double digit goals twice. Considering he only scored double digit goals four times in his entire career, he had a good run with the Blues.
Bassen played on those high-powered Blues teams of the early 90’s. He wasn’t expected to do much, but he still managed to produce even given his role.
His highest point totals all came in a Blues uniform. Bassen isn’t going into anyone’s Hall of Fame, but he did his job and knew his role.
39. Doug Weight
Outside of sentiment, there was no way Doug Weight wasn’t the choice here. Kelly Chase has done great things in the city and played his heart out for the Blues. However, Weight just did too much on the ice for Chaser to win that argument.
Surprisingly enough, Scott Pellerin scored 111 points. If he had any of the other numbers, he might have had a shot as well.
Weight played only six seasons with the Blues and still put up almost 300 points. He scored 49 during the regular season when the Blues went all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
Weight would go on to win a Stanley Cup with Carolina. Despite that, he returned to St. Louis in the following offseason, proving how much he loved the city and wanted to help the team succeed.
He never had those breakout 100 or 90 point seasons in St. Louis like he did in Edmonton. Nevertheless, Weight carried his weight and more (sorry, had to).
38. Pavol Demitra
And we end things on a high note. Pavol Demitra was really the only choice here and not just for sentimental reasons.
Demitra never got the credit he deserved while he was in St. Louis. Somehow we all kept wanting or expecting more.
I think Demitra’s problem was he came into the team too close to Bret Hull’s reign. So, fans kept wanting him to be that guy that scored 50 goals or 100 points. Even Demitra’s 93 point season got lost in the mix.
However, the guy almost scored a point every single game. 493 career points with the Blues in 494 games in pretty good.
Demitra also averaged 25 goals per season with St. Louis as well. Even after a 23 goal, 53 point season prior to the lockout, I remember no great outcry when he signed with the Kings when the NHL resumed.
Looking back, it’s a bit sad that there is this feeling Demitra had to pass away for him to be truly appreciated. Perhaps it’s just one man’s perception of things, but even I admit I didn’t appreciate his talents until he was gone and actually took a good look at the stats.
He wasn’t flashy or overly charismatic. He just got the job done.
Demitra’s passing in a plane crash that took the lives of several KHL players cemented his legacy. Perhaps we should have seen how great he was sooner though.
This list was fun, but also a bit tougher. A few choices to make and a few that I’m sure will raise the dander of some.
The 30’s will be very interesting since it will be littered with goaltenders. Stay tuned as that one is coming up.