Continuing our look at the best St. Louis Blues to wear each number. Now it’s time to get into some more intense talk regarding the most controversial position in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Blues have had plenty of stars to play a game in the note. Some were more popular than others. As we make our trek downward into the lower numbers, the decisions are getting tougher and more open to debate.
Pressing on into the bulk of the 30’s and upper 20’s, we enter the twilight zone. That position of perpetual angst among Blues fans – the goaltender.
37. Jeff Finley
No offense to Jeff Finley, but you would have thought someone would be able to surpass the defender as the best 37. There were 13 players to wear the number, after all.
Nevertheless, Finley was probably the best to wear those digits. He spent six seasons with the Blues and played in 371 games.
Finley only scored 34 points with the Blues. It doesn’t sound like a lot, because it isn’t. He was never an offensive defenseman though.
He tied the second most points ever twice with the Blues. His two goals scored, twice with the Blues, were also career highs.
Plus/minus isn’t a be-all, end-all statistic, but it can be valuable. Finley was a plus player in four of his six with St. Louis.
He won’t go down as a flashy player or even someone people think about. Still, he was steady, he filled his role and got the job done.
36. Glen Featherstone, Matt D’Agostini
It was hard to pick two for this one. I avoided it at all costs with other numbers, but I couldn’t separate the two because they are so decidedly different.
Both only played a handful of seasons with St. Louis. Both were let go as free agents with little thought as to why they were not kept as well.
Glen Featherstone was a hard-as-nails defenseman. He played in three seasons with St. Louis.
After an unmemorable rookie campaign, Featherstone came alive in his second and third seasons. Despite being a defensive defenseman, he scored double digit points. He also featured in one of the more famous fights in Blues history.
Matt D’Agostini certainly had his ups and downs with the Blues. In four seasons he managed 66 points.
That number isn’t completely impressive. However, he had one fantastic season with St. Louis.
In 2010-11, he scored 21 goals and 46 points. Those were both career highs that he never again approached.
Now, many people will ask why D’Agostini gets mentioned when he only had 107 career points. Well, when over half of that came with the Blues and played relatively the same amount of games as Featherstone, it was tough to differentiate the two.
35. Jim Pavese
Jim Pavese isn’t your household name. He’s not known by everyone who is a Blues fan.
Admittedly, I didn’t know too much about him until researching. Like several defenders of his era, he wasn’t exactly a point-scoring machine.
In seven seasons, he only put 44 points on the board. He was also a -55 in that time as well.
Despite all that, he featured in 263 games with St. Louis. You don’t stick around for that many seasons if you have absolutely no talent.
Pavese was there to rough people up. He averaged 69 minutes of penalty minutes with the Blues and had 51 with the 1986 Blues in the playoffs.
Penalties aren’t necessarily something to be proud of on the surface, but it was part of the era in which he played.
34. Bob Hess
Ha, I fooled you with the main picture. No, despite my assertion that Jake Allen can and will be good, he hasn’t done enough yet to be considered the best to wear 34.
Hess had a short career. Like some of the other guys on the list, Hess had a brilliant flash only to see it flame out very quickly.
Drafted in 1974, Hess made the Blues immediately and made an immediate impact. He also scored a great deal of points in a time when offensive defensemen were not the norm.
Unfortunately, he started out strong and went downhill fast. In only eight seasons, he had less totals in almost each season.
Hess went from 39 as a rookie to 32, 22, 14 and then 7. He had a very successful career in the minor leagues, but never could return to the NHL.
33. Mark Reeds
Mark Reeds is another guy who today’s fans have probably never heard of. He had a brief career, but used up all his good days in St. Louis and the Blues were grateful for it.
Reeds was a 5th round draft pick by St. Louis in 1979. He had to wait a couple years before making it to the NHL and then only saw nine games.
He kept growing and playing more games and scoring more points. Despite the fact he could not sustain it for a long and fruitful career does not mean he was not a valuable player in his best days.
Reeds still managed 150 points in his Blues career. He also had a couple seasons in the high 30’s, which isn’t too shabby.
He fell off the map in two short years with Hartford, but he still had some good times in St. Louis. That’s all that matters.
32. Nelson Emerson
This one is a bit of a cheat. Nelson Emerson wore 7 during his true formative years with the Blues.
32 was only worn for one season and only four games at that. Nevertheless, he isn’t likely to be picked at 7, so I’m sticking him in here.
Some of the other guys that wore 32 wore it longer, but Emerson was one of those guys you wished stuck around much longer. In only two full seasons with the Blues he put in 45 goals and 87 points.
Emerson topped his 73 point season with a 74 point performance in one year with Winnipeg, but never again approached those numbers after leaving St. Louis.
Given his size, he was a good scorer and performer in a time when the NHL was putting a premium on big bodies. He never really duplicated his regular season success in the playoffs, but he was still a player to be wary of.
31. Curtis Joseph
Fuhr had better postseason numbers. Joseph was better in the regular season. Fuhr set a league-record by starting 78 consecutive games. Joseph remains one of the most popular guys to ever put the mask on in St. Louis.
In the end, I gave the nod – barely – to Cujo. As much as many of us love those Blues of the early 90’s, they were a pretty bad defensive team.
Joseph faced over 2200 shots twice with St. Louis. His goals against averages were always high, but how you’re going to keep those down when you’re getting pelted each game is beyond me.
Fuhr put up comparable, and in some cases better, numbers but much of that came in his record setting season. He petered out a little in his last two seasons while Joseph kept trucking.
The problem with this argument is we are looking at players who played in St. Louis at opposite ends of their careers. The career choice would likely be Fuhr.
He never got great defending, but won four championships. Joseph always came up short when it came to the big one.
Nevertheless, Joseph did just a little more for longer with the Blues. Plus, as much as I like Fuhr’s keyboard mask, it’s hard to go against the Cujo dog masks.
30. Jacques Plante
I’m going to admit that I’m taking the Joseph argument and throwing it out the window with this one. In terms of what they accomplished, stats wise, Rick Wamsley should get the choice at 30.
However, when a goaltender comes up with something as revolutionary as the mask and also helps take the Blues to the Stanley Cup Finals, you can’t pick against Jacques Plante.
Plante didn’t feature in a ton of games with the Blues. In two seasons he had a record of 36-21-11. Wamsley had more than double the wins.
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
Still, Plante is Plante. He and Glenn Hall did what no other Blues goaltenders have managed since. They got to the finals.
Yes, Wamsley got close and eventually won with Calgary a few years later. When it comes to the bluenote, you have to celebrate those early seasons even if they couldn’t break through for that championship win.
29. Greg Millen
Greg Millen had an interesting NHL career. As things went along, the number of games he featured in dwindled.
However, it wasn’t necessarily because of age. He just always seemed to be paired with someone that was challenging for playing time as opposed to the old fashioned starter and backup.
Millen was brought to St. Louis to challenge Wamsley and like today’s version of Elliott and Allen, they pretty much split things down the middle. He got more playing time in the postseason of 1985 and then Wamsley reclaimed the net more in the next year.
Millen was given the reigns when the Blues traded Wamsley as a package for Brett Hull in 1988. However, despite a career high six shutouts in 1988-89, Millen couldn’t get over the hump in the playoffs.
He was eventually shipped out himself as part of the package that brought Jeff Brown to St. Louis. Millen was another in a long line of goaltenders that showed promise and couldn’t live up to it. However, he elevated himself above the others at his position since 29 seemed to be the number of the backup.
28. Greg Paslawski
Greg Paslawski had some ups and downs within his career as well. He had some fantastic seasons with the Blues even if it wasn’t spread out over his entire time in the NHL.
Paslawski came to St. Louis early in his career when he was packaged with Doug Wickenheiser and Gilbert Delorme for Perry Turnbull. Little did the Blues know they were going to get a solid scorer in Paslawski since he only had five points for Montreal in his rookie season.
When he played in full years for the Blues, he had a knack for scoring. When he played 70 goals or more, he never scored less than 40 points. He also never scored fewer than 22 goals with St. Louis either.
His career season came in a Blues uniform in 1986-87. Despite missing some of the regular season, he scored 17 points in the Blues run to the conference finals the year prior as well.
Paslawski’s biggest problem was staying healthy. In an 11 year career, he only played 70 or more games five times.
He still shined brightly in the bluenote. He played well enough to outduel Steve Duchesne for the best 28 anyway.
So, there you have it. I expect a little more debate to go along with this one.
The Fuhr/Joseph decision could be a hot one. Let us know who you would have chosen. More to come as we hit the teens very soon.