St. Louis Blues: Small Lineup Changes Could Have Big Affect

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 30: Beau Bennett
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 30: Beau Bennett /

The St. Louis Blues have had plenty go right in the first portion of their season. As things get a little stale, changes are needed but potential change might not be in the team’s best interest.

The St. Louis Blues are contemplating a lineup change either for their game against the Calgary Flames or at some point during their trip through Canada. Now, the main question is whether those changes would have a positive impact on the team.

As fans – even myself – we complain about line changes and roster changes all the time. This player would work better with that line or that player has no right play with that combination, etc. We all think we know best.

Even so, there are times when we can see lineup changes might not be in the best interest of the team. That could potentially be the case with the changes Mike Yeo is pondering.

According to the Post-Dispatch, Yeo is contemplating some tinkering up and down the lineup. Beau Bennett, yes the man who could not buy a game over the last week or two, would take a wing spot on the team’s top line.

Vladimir Tarasenko would move down to the second line with Alexander Steen and Paul Stastny. Vladimir Sobotka would take a spot on the third line. Lastly, Magnus Paajarvi would take a role with the fourth line.

Clearly, the bulk of each line would stay the same. It is really only one winger on each one that would be different.

What a difference though. Tarasenko “dropping” down is of no concern. He has plenty of chemistry with Steen and Stastny, so that’s no biggie.

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Sobotka is much more suited to a third line role, however his inclusion in this line is a bit worrying. The Blues third line has shown little in the way of production potential, let alone actually scoring. So, the inclusion of anyone new, by themselves, just does not seem to inspire any more confidence in that line’s ability.

The fourth line is fine. Dropping Chris Thorburn makes sense if you want more offense.

It is the top line that becomes worrying. Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn have been on fire.

It must be noted that they have played very well no matter who their winger is. Are we to figure that Bennett can really fit with the team’s top line?

Bennett has some talent or else Pittsburgh would not have drafted him. We have seen a flash here or there, but nothing of real note.

He has deserved more of a chance that he’s received, but a sudden inclusion on the top trio seems odd. Perhaps the thinking is that the other two are so hot that they might raise Bennett’s game along with them.

Still, you risk throwing their game off. If the assignment is too much for Bennett, you could throw off the chemistry of the team and the mojo of those other scorers.

None of this is set in stone, of course. Yeo admitted they have not decided on the changes as of yet.

“Just trying to spark something,” Yeo said in the Post-Dispatch. “We’ll think more about it tomorrow. We wanted to give it a look here in practice. It felt like the last couple games things were getting a little stale and so we’ll see what we come up tomorrow.”

I get the stale part. No matter how much we want lines to stay together, sometimes you do need to mix things up just to get a different look.

That said, it sort of points out the lack of depth on the Blues at the moment. They’ve played so well as a unit, but when you start pondering changes, you run a bigger risk.

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Suddenly you’re putting a guy that is probably suited to the third line on the top line.

We will see whether Yeo pulls the trigger on any switches or not. Hopefully it works, if he does. Just because the Blues had a bad game against the Islanders does not signal the need for wholesale changes.

Fingers are crossed that the Blues will benefit and not upset any chemistry with any of these potential changes.