St. Louis Blues: What Is Fool’s Gold, What Is Real

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Jaden Schwartz
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Jaden Schwartz /
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St. Louis Blues
ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 7: Jaden Schwartz /

For Real

The chemistry between Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn is on point. Put whichever winger you want with them and they are getting the job done.

Four games into the season, they have a combined 12 points. The duo has also combined for three power play points, which is a big reason Schenn was brought into the team.

Again, not trying to bag on certain guys *coughJaskincough* but they have not had a true second line winger in all of their games. The return of Alex Steen should change that, regardless of whether Steen ends up on that line.

It has not mattered. Their line has been the most consistent and best line for the team in the early part of the season.

Eventually I think that moniker of best line will slide over to Vladimir Tarasenko‘s line as he heats up. Still, it is hard to see Schenn and Schwartz being broken up any time soon.

They play well off each other. They seem to know where the other will be and compliment the other’s game very well. This should last and that should be a duo the team keeps going back to even if they are forced to split them now and then.

Fool’s Gold

The Blues power play is pretty highly ranked so far. They’ve scored on just about 25% of their man-advantages, which puts them around eighth in the league.

There just does not seem to be enough improvement over year’s past to think that will stay that way. It is the same old, same old from that unit, visually, so far.

The top line is great so far, but the top line is overloaded. The Blues second power play unit doesn’t really have anyone you trust to score other than Colton Parayko.

Additionally, they have the same problems from last year. If they get set up, they are dangerous. Once the puck leaves the zone, they have a hard time getting it back in though.

Also, the Blues are giving up a lot of shorthanded chances. They have yet to allow a shorty, but the averages are not on their side if the current trend continues.

None of this is to say the team’s power play is bad. They simply play bad at times.

If this team is going to truly be a contender, their power play has to find consistency instead of being either great or terrible. The Nasvhille series was won and lost on special teams after all.

For Real

The Blues goaltending is the biggest key to the team being where they are this early. The Blues have not been stellar defensively, despite flashes of good play.

Their goaltenders have been brilliant. The stats aren’t as great as we’d like, but they are getting the job done.

Night after night, both Jake Allen and Carter Hutton have done exactly what you want your goalie to do. They have stopped everything they should stop and made some additional saves you didn’t think they would.

There is no reason to believe that will change. Sure, they are going to have bad nights. Every team and every goalie does.

They seem comfortable with their game right now though. They know what kind of defending they will get and they know that an occasional mistake won’t be the end of the world.

Most importantly, both are playing with confidence. That can be fleeting, but both are even keeled players and are not likely to let any one bad performance affect them.

The Blues might rely on their goalies a little too much. They surely did in the 2017 playoffs.

Both of these guys seem up to the task right now though. If you tell me now that they carry the Blues the entire year, I would not say you are crazy. In fact, I’d be surprised if that did not end up being the case when the season ends.

Final Thoughts

It has been an exciting open to the season. I don’t think even the most optimistic of us thought the Blues would play this well.

As said above though, their play does not seem beyond their grasp though. They’re winning exactly because they are staying within themselves. That is why I don’t see them falling off the map as some had predicted.

It is way too early to predict playoff success or talk about seeding. Even excitement needs to be tempered.

Next: St. Louis Must Step Up As Blues Bid On All-Star Game

The NHL is going to even out and teams that we thought would be good will be good. Pittsburgh is not going to finish in last and Vegas likely won’t finish in first.

However, to feel like your team deserves to be in first and could stay near the top of the division is a good feeling. They have to go out and earn it, but if the chemistry stays the same when players get healthy then this team is going to be hard to eliminate.