Closing in on the end of out St. Louis Blues list of the best at each number, we hit some big names. Regardless of number, these are some of the best to wear the note.
The St. Louis Blues have been blessed to have some pretty special players pull on their sweater. Two of the names coming up in this list will go down as some of the best of all time in St. Louis regardless of number.
A case could be made for a third. However, we’ll let you decide about that.
17. Jaden Schwartz
In the end, Schwartz has done just a bit more in the time he has had. Cavallini had a very good, steady career with the Blues.
In seven seasons in St. Louis, he averaged 30 points per year. He never eclipsed 20 goals though.
Schwartz has averaged just over 31 points per season. That includes two partial seasons to start his career and half a season due to an injury last season.
He’s had a better individual career so far, it has just been shorter. Schwartz already has more goals and points in one season than Cavallini approached.
It’s up to him to keep this going. It could end up that Schwartz tails off and Cavallini re-enters the equation in this discussion.
For now, Schwartz has the edge. Let’s hope, for the current team’s sake, he keeps it.
16. Brett Hull, RETIRED 12/5/2006
Coming off the tough choice at 17, this may have been the easiest pick of the bunch. You could completely erase Brett Hull‘s stats from other teams and he would still be one of the best to ever play the game.
936 of his 1391 career points came in St. Louis. His 527 goals with the Blues would still put him in the top 35 goal scorers of all time. As it was, he ended up the fifth leading goal scorer for his career.
Hull was one of those rare breeds. He had the charisma, the ability and the personality. It was a winning combination.
Unfortunately, Hull’s personal success never translated to the team in the playoffs. Despite the player being one of the best in the league, the team never got past the second round while he was here.
By no means was that on Hull alone. His only real poor performance, stats wise, was a 3 point output when the Blues got swept by the Stars in 1993-94.
As was the case with so many, Hull went on to greater success after he left. He won a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars the very season he left and then another in Detroit a few seasons later.
Hull never go the chance to return to St. Louis as a player the way NFL stars come back to retire. Even though he did not return until he became a part of the front office, Hull never left the hearts of Blues fans and the feeling was mutual.
His number 16 was pulled up to the rafters on December 5, 2006. He joined the Blues in a front office role soon after that.
Now, he still dreams of the Blues parading the Cup downtown. If it ever happens, it will likely travel down Brett Hull Way.
15. Craig Janney
Poor Craig Janney. In any other circumstance, he would be viewed as one of the best to ever lace them up with St. Louis. Instead, his time in St. Louis was nothing but a mess off the ice.
On the ice, he was a professional and more than did his job. When he first arrived in St. Louis, he immediately scored 36 points in 25 games.
Janney followed that up with a 100-plus point season in 1992-93. Janney’s encore performance for that was a mere 84 points.
The talented, if not quiet, center was then sent packing just eight games into the strike shortened season of 1994-95. He bounced around from there, but still put up 50 or more points every season until his last.
Janney’s problem was off ice. Fans never fully took to Janney because he was involved in the trade that sent Adam Oates away.
Then even more issues followed him. Janney was sent to Vancouver as part of a tampering charge when they signed Petr Nedved. The Blues then had to give up Jeff Brown and two other players to get him back, only to see him traded the following year for real.
The alleged situation between Janney’s now ex-wife and then teammate Brendan Shanahan did not help matters either. In the end, Janney’s talents could not overcome all the trouble that followed him.
Little, if any, of it was his doing. Still, he was unable to settle into the team or the city the way most guys did. Regardless of all that, he still put up monster numbers in a brief time and was a heck of a player.
14. Geoff Courtnall
It’s not often that you get two chances with the same team. Geoff Courtnall did and he made the most of it by living up to the promise he showed in the first.
Courtnall arrived in St. Louis prior to the 1990-91 season, coming from Washington. He scored 57 points that year before he was dealt to Vancouver.
That deal may have been one of the most head scratching trades the Blues were ever involved in and the team had some doozies. Courtnall was packaged with Sergio Momesso, Cliff Ronning, and Robert Dirk for Dan Quinn and Garth Butcher.
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Now, Butcher turned out to be an excellent defensive defenseman. However, the Blues got fleeced.
Courtnall and Ronning were both great scorers. Ronning scored 50 points or more every full season he played until he was 36. Courtnall did the same until he returned to St. Louis.
Even when returning to the Blues, he made it worth the deal. Arriving as a free agent in 1995, he scored 24 goals off the bat.
Courtnall then had seasons of 57 and 62 points. Injuries and age caught up to him in the end and he fell off before retirement.
The Blues may have missed out on his best years, but Courtnall still gave them the best he had. In the end over 100 goals and 232 points isn’t half bad.
13. Bill Guerin
My, oh my Blues. You couldn’t get anyone to play better in the number 13?
Superstition or not, nobody could do better than Bill Guerin’s one season of play? A little disappointing.
None of that is said to take anything away from Guerin. He was a solid player that brought a lot of value to the teams he played on.
The odd thing about Guerin was he could never stick. Guerin scored well over 400 goals in his career but played on eight teams during that time.
He made his name mostly during the New Jersey Devils’ first championship run and on the teams prior and after. Then he bounced around before landing in St. Louis for a year.
Even though his career was winding down, Guerin still gave the Blues a full 3/4 of a season. 28 goals and 47 points was more than most on the team were scoring in a full year and he did so in 61 games.
Unfortunately, the team situation and Guerin being a free agent, prompted the Blues to trade him before the deadline. Other than acquiring the pick that would become David Perron, the Blues didn’t get fair value but those are the breaks.
While Guerin earning this spot does show how good he was, it also shows that nobody else performed at all in the number 13. Oh well.
12. Adam Oates
Speaking of controversy, this particular list is littered with players where it did not end well between them and the team. Adam Oates is a prime example of that.
Oates put up good numbers in Detroit, but really hit his stride with the St. Louis Blues. In his first year with the team he had 102 points.
He followed that up with 115. The combination of Hull and Oates was a match made in heaven.
Only a combination of Hull and Gretzky in their primes could have eclipsed what Hull and Oates did. Unfortunately, the bottom dropped out all too quickly.
Oates signed an extension prior to the season. Then, when other players got more significant deals, he felt underpaid.
Everyone got their panties in a twist following that. Oates demanded a renegotiation or he would walk. The Blues and their fans balked at his brashness.
St. Louis traded Oates to Boston for Janney and Stephane Quintal. Quintal did next to nothing and while Janney was a decent replacement, it just didn’t have quite the spark with Hull that Oates did.
It did not help matters that Oates put up 45 goals and 142 points in his first full season in Boston. At least St. Louis swept Chicago in the playoffs that year. That was pretty great.
Fans will always wonder what might have been had St. Louis kept Oates around. Would it have led to a Stanley Cup?
With playoff goaltending and other issues surrounding the Blues, it’s hard to say. It would have been nice to find out though.
11. Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter was no Hull or Federko, but he was still one of the best to ever pull on a Blues sweater. The man just oozed leadership and took to it like a moth to the flame.
Sutter was drafted by the Blues in 1976, but it took him awhile to acclimate. He only managed 36 points in his first two years before finally breaking out.
In year three of his career, Sutter exploded for 80 points. Before he was done, he had two 40-plus goal seasons and five with 70 or more points – that could have been six since he had 69 one year.
Unfortunately for Sutter, he played on some pretty mediocre teams. For example, one season after finishing with one of the best records in the league in 1980-81, the Blues went 32-40-8 the next year. They were even worse in 1982-83.
Sutter’s save grace as a player was it was actually pretty hard to miss the playoffs in those days. Thus, he got plenty of cracks at winning.
As with every player to ever pull on the bluenote, he could never get over the hump. Sutter had 42 points in 47 games while leading his team to the Western Conference Finals (then known as the Campbell Conference).
Sadly, back problems derailed his playing career. The season prior to going to the conference finals was the last full season we got with a healthy man.
The number of games dwindled and Sutter retired following what was a sub par year for him with 37 points. Sutter’s number was retired almost immediately in December of the following season.
He went into coaching soon after and won coach of the year in his first season. Sutter could never get out of the second round with any of his teams though and he left the NHL coaching ranks after the 2003-04 season.
So there you have it. Some of the biggest names in recent Blues history, if not team history overall.
Lots of controversy with these names, but much of it surrounding the men themselves as opposed to my selection of them.
Almost nobody spent their entire careers with the Blues and the one that did had his career cut short. The oddities abound.
As always, we want to know what you think. Anyone get overlooked? Would you have chosen Cavallini over Schwartz? Let us know.