The St. Louis Blues are off to a fantastic start to the 2017-18 season. It sometimes hard to tell if these things will last or if it is just a good run. We’re here to tell you.
The St. Louis Blues are undefeated a week into the 2017-18 season. While that statement will not be true for an entire month, let alone season, the Blues are playing at a high level.
Making the feat more impressive is that the Blues have had only one home game in this early portion of the season. In fact, the Blues only have two home games in their first nine games. They only have five home games in the entire month of October.
Even with the team’s fast start, there have been other starts that petered out because the team was not that great. The year they began the season in Europe against the Detroit Red Wings springs to mind.
However, this team is not just lucky. They are getting good performances all around.
So, as fans, how are we to tell what is fool’s gold and what is real. Sometimes it can be quite difficult since we are so invested.
The bottom line is that there is more to like about this team than dislike in the early season. If you’ve followed our pros/cons series, you know the Blues are far from perfect.
They appear to be a well coached team though. They believe in the system and it is paying dividends. Keeping it up will be the task, going forward.
So, let’s discuss what is real and what might be fooling our eyes with this team.
Carl Gunnarsson jumps to the top of the list here. Yes, I bag on the guy because he’s been mostly a ghost during his Blues career, and that has little to do with his complexion.
However, he’s gotten off to a hot start. He had zero goals all of last season and only three the year before that.
In four games, he already has two goals. Is he suddenly an offensive dynamo? Not in the slightest.
Credit where it is due, he has jumped up into the play at the opportune times and been rewarded. He’s not going to suddenly become a goal scorer at age 30 though.
He has never scored more than four goals in any one season. Getting two right off the hop sets him up well, but that’s just not his game.
Maybe he gets to five and sets a career record. We should not expect him to be scoring the same way we think of the other defensemen though.
The Blues record is for real. There is plenty of fool’s gold going around the NHL standings in the early part of the season, but the Blues record is not part of that.
St. Louis probably won’t finish the season atop the Central Division. They are really setting themselves up well though by getting as many points as they can as their division foes struggle out of the gate.
Nobody should expect the Minnesota Wild to stay winless much longer. The Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets will not stay sub-.500. That’s all fool’s gold.
The Blues don’t fall into that category though. They are going to have their rough patches over the course of the season, but this team is talented.
Nobody wants to believe that because they don’t have the names on paper. The pieces fit together though.
With very few exceptions, the Blues have not had any real luck so far this season. They won because they outworked their opponent.
St. Louis has made plenty of mistakes and still managed to find ways to win. That is something we have not always seen in the past.
In other years, regardless of who was coach, the Blues would find ways to not get those extra points. They’d lose in OT or throw the game away in the final moments.
We still see plenty of that not being able to close things out part, but they’re overcoming it. We don’t see the heads going down and the here we go again mentality.
Eventually, the Blues will lose. They’ll have a losing streak or two during the season. Their current winning ways are not unsustainable though. They are not punching above their weight class.
The Blues have been competitive in previous seasons when nobody gave them a shot. Nobody is giving them a shot in the Central this year either and they don’t care. They just keep going out there and getting it done.
Despite all the doubters, I think this team finishes second or third in the division and in a reasonably comfortable playoff spot.
On the flip side of the Blues, you have the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights. It seems hard to imagine either of them continuing their hot starts.
Vegas is riding a wave of emotion as they try to lift their city after the tragedy. Being an expansion team, it is hard to get a true read on what their future will be given that we’ve never seen them as a group before.
It just does not seem sustainable for them to remain near the top of their division given the history of expansion teams. The league set up expansion to favor Vegas this time around, but even then they are likely to fall off the pace eventually.
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The same is likely of Colorado. They got a couple really good wins right off the bat, but the inner turmoil might be their undoing.
With the Matt Duchene saga still going on, you have to wonder how long it is before the questions bother the team. Is he going or is he staying? Did Joe Sakic overprice the value and has he forced the team into a situation where they eventually get nothing?
We have seen the Avalanche come from nothing to shock everyone before. They won the division back in 2013-14.
This team is young and talented. It just does not seem like they’ve done enough to improve to expect the early season push to last though.
The entire Western Conference is a little topsy-turvy right now. You have the San Jose Sharks in last and the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers (both a pick to win it all by some) with one win each.
Things will even out and the cream will rise. It’s definitely made for some entertaining games and maybe a few dollars lost in the betting scene.