The St. Louis Blues have almost always been a puzzling team. They win when you think they won’t and vice versa. There are some things that get lost in the shuffle due to this.
The St. Louis Blues have always made their fans scratch their heads at times. Like any pro sports franchise still trying to win a championship, they drive their fans mad.
In a season like they have had this year, it becomes especially important to think about things in perspective. This can be extremely hard because we get so involved in the minute details.
Wheat gets lost in the shuffle is that there are positive things we have to keep in mind. There are things that keep a broader view on a player or the team that we often overlook as well.
As fans, we get so bogged down in the game-to-game stuff or the lack of scoring during this stretch or that. It is easy to think a team is doing far better than they are or far worse than reality shows.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few things that are easily forgotten.
Jake Allen Is Still Young
There is little doubt that Jake Allen has had a poor year this season, by our standards and by his.
Even if Allen does not lose another game this season, he has set an NHL career high for losses. Not all of that is on him, but there just has not been that same calmness and fluidity to his game.
Despite his flaws this season, we forget that he’s still young. Allen is only 27. NHL goaltenders often hit their peak in their late 20’s and even early 30’s.
There are the exceptions that were great throughout their careers and even won young, such as Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur. However, many goaltenders did not enter their prime until a little later in their careers.
Dominik Hasek did not truly become the Dominator until he was in his 30’s. Corey Crawford did not even become a starter until he was 26.
We often forget that Allen was handed the keys pretty early in his career. You can argue about whether that should have happened or not, but it’s the truth.
Allen has already been a starter for four years at an age when several goaltenders were just getting into it.
Of course, nothing excuses his less than stellar play this season. As much as I may like him personally, he has shown himself to be a little bit of a headcase. That said, there is just too much time left in his career to think he’s washed up or that this is more than just a blip.
Allen is still very young and it would be a shame to give up on him so quickly. This is especially true when you think that his potential replacement is 23 and would go through the same growing pains.
Vladimir Tarasenko Has Always Been A Bookend Scorer
As fans, we want our best scorers to do it game in and game out. Whether fairly or not, we basically compare everyone to Brett Hull because Hully actually did manage to score a point almost every game. That’s not realistic in today’s game.
With that in mind, we tend to put too much pressure on Vladimir Tarasenko. We expect him to keep progressing each year, figuring he will be our next 50 goal scorer. Tarasenko did himself no favors by publicly stating that he knows he can get to 50.
Defending him is right, but like Allen, it cannot be said that 2017-18 won’t be seen as a regressive year. With 27 goals and 58 points, Tarasenko will be hard pressed just to get to 30 goals. That’s a far cry from the 50 he set as a goal.
The point totals are just as disappointing. Regardless of goal totals, overall, he’s had 70-plus points in each of the last three seasons. You would have expected just as many, even if he only got in the low 30’s for goals.
However, if Tarasenko comes back healthy for the final 10 games of the season, there is no reason to think he cannot go on a tear. He has done it before.
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For whatever reason, Tarasenko is what I call a bookend scorer. He does the most scoring at the beginning and the end of each season.
In terms of a point per game ratio, October and November are his best months of his careers. He averages almost a point per game in those months and just about a goal every other game. April has a decent ratio as well. In 26 career games in April, he has 19 career regular season points.
Sure, we’d love to see more consistency in his game, but Tarasenko has always done well at the start and the end. Now, we just need him to get healthy.
Some Of The Blues Best Teams Finished Low In The Playoff Race
Ok, best teams is somewhat of a relative term. However, those of us that are the right age fondly remember those Brett Hull teams of the early and mid-90’s.
Though it was before Hull’s time, the 1987-88 team went to the conference finals. They went 37-34-9. Hull’s teams regularly hovered just above the .500 mark except for the 1990-91 team, which had 101 points and in 1993-94 when they had 91.
Interestingly, the opposite is true as well. The teams that did the best were often the bigger playoff failures. The Blues almost always got over 100 points with Ken Hitchcock, but were early playoff exits in all but one season.
The 1999-00 team had a franchise best 114 points and a President’s Trophy. They lost in the first round.
Nevertheless, the Blues find ways to win when they should not and vice versa. It’s a team that has long been an enigma, but we often forget that some of the most fun seasons were not that different in a record than this year.
The 2017-18 Blues are statistically good defensively
This one is a surprise, even now. As much as all of us have been on Allen’s case and chided the defensive positioning and effort, the Blues are still one of the better teams in terms of goals allowed.
As of writing this, they are fifth in the league in goals allowed. While that ebbs and flows with each game, that’s still hard to fathom given their struggles.
In the Western Conference, only three teams have allowed fewer goals. Two of those teams are fighting for the top spot in the division.
It seems hard to believe that the Blues could have a defense that good statistically when they’ve looked so poor at times. It does highlight their lack of scoring though.
St. Louis is somehow still in the playoff mix despite being so poor at scoring. There are actually only two teams in the conference with less goals scored than St. Louis. In the league, the Blues are 23rd as of writing this.
That also shows how good the defense has been in an overall sense. The fact they are not completely out of the race despite goals being so hard to come by is quite a testament.
In the grand scheme of things, perhaps none of this matters. It’s just interesting to take into consideration more than anything.
It’s easy to get so caught up in struggles or disliking this player or that. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at things in a larger perspective.
Goaltenders are a fickle bunch. Goals are hard to come by at times. Even seemingly poor defensive play can still keep a season alive.
Sometimes we have to remember that we overlook things. Sometimes we are too deep in the forest to see the trees.