The St. Louis Blues maintain their own silence about the availability of Patrik Berglund. However, where there is smoke there is fire, regarding his return.
The St. Louis Blues themselves, have been somewhat mum about the situation of Patrik Berglund returning to their lineup. Perhaps that is because they do not truly know.
As of a month ago, we were basically led to believe he’d be playing long before Jay Bouwmeester. Instead, big Bouw already has a few games under his belt and we are still waiting on Berglund.
None of that is said as a dig at the team. You can just never tell when players will be fully fit.
The only oddity about it is the only thing holding Berglund back is either comfort or strength. By this time, he’s been skating enough to be in better shape than most of the team. So, either the shoulder is not strong enough or still giving him discomfort.
Nevertheless, there is and has been enough talk of his return to figure it is close. So, the Blues better be thinking about who they intend to use in their lineup when he comes back.
As always, there are multiple possibilities. Much of it will depend on the form of the players that are in the lineup when he comes back. As we’ve seen with the Bouwmeester return, you cannot assume anything about who Mike Yeo will keep, demote or bench.
So, with all that said, let’s take our second look at who might line up for the Blues when Berglund returns. For a refresher, here’s the first try at who the Blues might have played.
Lines We’d Like To See
Line 1: Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko
Line 2: Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, Vladimir Sobotka
Line 3: Dmitrij Jaskin, Patrik Berglund, Sammy Blais
Line 4: Scottie Upshall, Kyle Brodziak, Chris Thorburn
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For now, Sobotka seems like he’s fitting in fine with that top-six role. Thorburn has actually been a solid energy line player as well recently, setting up goals and getting in fights. So, why mess with a good thing?
Personally, I’d like to see Berglund on the wing due to the fact he just seems more comfortable, regardless of what he says. My only issue is putting him on the wing involves keeping Oskar Sundqvist at center and in the lineup. No dice.
Blais seems to have come back to the NHL with plenty of energy – energy enough to make the third line look respectable the last game or two.
There are clearly tweaks you could make to this, but this would be a solid lineup.
If you wanted to be extremely bold, you could move Alexander Steen or Sobotka to the third line to spread out scoring. Pushing Berglund to the wing would be beneficial and Sobotka might be better suited to the third line. For now, I think you stick with as many current lines as possible with some positive tweaks.
Lines We Are Likely To Get
Line 1: Schwartz, Schenn, Tarasenko
Line 2: Steen, Stastny, Sobotka
Line 3: Berglund, Sundqvist, Blais
Line 4: Upshall, Brodziak, Thorburn/Jaskin
It seems odd that many fans would like Berglund on the wing, but given the roster, playing center would benefit the rest of the team. On the flip side, putting him on the wing might end up being likely since the team seems so enamored with Sundqvist.
It has gone to the point where until we see Sundqvist out of the lineup, we have to assume he will be in it. So, that will push Berglund outside. It could very well push Blais back to the minors, but he’s played well enough that you would hope he gets at least a game or two afterward.
The thing that might not shock me would be to put Sobotka on the third line wing and move Berglund to the second line. The thing holding that back is which Berglund you get.
If you get the one we saw late last season, that’s a fine move. If you get the ughh Berglund, then keeping his ice time down might be a better idea.
Overall, the funny thing is I feel much better about inserting him in there now than I did at the last article. The form of the entire team seems less top-heavy, so there seems to be more hope now.
Before it was just inserting him into an untenable situation. Now it seems he’s poised to add to an already clicking lineup.
Time will tell. However, with December just over the horizon, we are likely to find out sooner rather than later.