The St. Louis Blues had some interesting years throughout the decades and some interesting characters. However, it was the 1980’s that saw two of the franchise’s best of all time join.
The St. Louis Blues have gone through plenty of interesting stretches, with good and bad times. The 1980’s were a big decade of change for the squad.
Players came and went and some big trades took place. The one constant was that the team made the playoffs.
You can argue until you are blue in the face about how easy it was to make the playoffs in those days and you would not be wrong. The team had several squads that were under .500 and made the postseason.
Nevertheless, the Blues never missed a postseason from 1980 through 1989. They were eliminated early, plenty of times, but still made it.
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However, the 80’s saw a rise to prominence by the team again. After not making it since the team’s first three years, the Blues of 1985-86 made the conference finals. They lost to Calgary, which most teams did, but took it seven games.
The 1980’s also saw several future Hall of Fame players come through the doors at St. Louis arena. Some stayed longer than others, but it made for an entertaining decade.
The first line is pretty easy for the 80’s. You have the man with the most points all-time in a Blues uniform in Bernie Federko. You have the guy who might as well have been from the city, he grew to be so loved and appreciated for his hard work and talent in Brian Sutter. Wayne Babych seems like a head scratcher, but he scored almost a point per game in his six seasons with the Blues.
Sutter’s career was shorter than it could have been. However, he still managed over 300 goals and more than 600 points and his name is in the Enterprise Center rafters with Federko’s. Hard to argue with that.
Honestly, the only reason Jorgen Pettersson did not get the top line is being here a year less. He was with the Blues for five seasons, but also managed almost a point per game pace with over 300 points in the Note.
Doug Gilmour’s end to being a Blue was sordid and unseemly, but as a player he was fantastic. It’s one of those things that seems to be the Blues luck. We got to see Gilmour with Federko, but just imagine if the Blues could have had Gilmour, Oates and Hull all on the same team in the 90’s. Such is life. Even in a short time, Gilmour scored 149 goals and over 300 points with the Blues.
Joe Mullen was somewhat of a question mark. He’s more known for being on the Penguins, but his Blues career was solid too. He never had fewer than 47 points in St. Louis, scored over 80 points twice and even had more than 50 points by the time St. Louis traded him for Gino Cavalini and peanuts.
The defenders were harder. Rob Ramage was a really solid player in the 80’s and played for the Blues for quite some time, including some of his best years. If not for being traded for Brett Hull, he might have played his career here.
Brian Benning is a name most forget since the team traded him to L.A. However, his best offensive years were in St. Louis, including career highs in points and goals.
Jack Brownschidle almost snuck into the 70’s team. He was a model of consistency and a decent offensive contributor when that was not yet in style.
I’ll be perfectly honest – Paul Cavalini made it because I liked the Cavalini’s. Gino was not good enough to crack the lineup, but Paul can and the family was a perfect fit for this franchise.
The goaltending in the 80’s was…well, they wore pads and made a few saves.
Mike Liut is considered one of the franchise’s best. The stats would say otherwise in a comparison, but the 80’s were just different. Goaltenders regularly had save percentages below .900. Liut was solid though.
Rick Wamsley was basically a tossup over Greg Millen. The two literally split the season for three years, including both playing 10 games each during the run to the conference finals. And we thought splitting Elliott and Allen was bad. Wamsley had a better goals saved above average percentage and better numbers in terms of goals allowed percentage relative to the league.
The 1980’s were an odd time. The Blues could put together an All-Star team with guys that were here for a cup of coffee. Names like Perry Turnbull, Blake Dunlop, Cliff Ronning and Peter Zezel all made appearances.
Then, there was also the arrival of the Golden Brett. The only reason Hull does not make this list is because he only got one full season in the 80’s (unless you count 1989-90, which for these purposes, we did not). Hull trumps all those names, but you’ll most likely find his name on Team 90’s.
The 80’s were a mess in terms of results with good teams dropping in the playoffs and mediocre ones almost going to play for the Cup. Still, they had some colorful characters and plenty of names we still remember today.