Which 4th Line We’ll Get Most Nights
Some people will ask why we should care about this one. After all, it is just the fourth line.
Over the last few seasons, the fourth line has been almost set in ink though. The Blues did not have to worry about it at all.
They knew the three, sometimes four, guys that were going to play in those spots. They knew what they would get out of that line each night as well.
Can you put skill players like Kostin or Thompson or other prospects on the fourth line and expect them to defend like a fourth liner? Can you expect goal production from those same guys if they only get fourth line minutes?
These are all questions that need to be answered by the end of the preseason. The Blues might not have that bottom line set in stone, but it cannot be some amorphous blob of players. It cannot be a revolving door where it’s almost a new wing every other game.
We should not expect there to be no rotation. The Blues are going to want to try guys out and see what combinations work best. The fourth line will always be the dumping ground for guys getting a look, but not quite ready for top-six minutes.
Still, you need to have some chemistry, even on the bottom line. Teams that have gone far in the playoffs recently have been able to roll out four lines and get production of some sort from all of them. Even the Blues team that went to the conference finals had that luxury.
Now that Sanford is out, that takes away one option that I believe the team had penciled into that slot. So, the question mark just got bigger for this situation and the Blues need to have some definitive answers by the time the season gets here.