St. Louis Blues Likely To Fall Short Come Award Season

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 2: Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save against the Dallas Stars at Enterprise Center on March 2, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 2: Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save against the Dallas Stars at Enterprise Center on March 2, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Blues slow start has cost them in many ways. One of the more unexpected ways it might have cost them is being in the running for awards.

When the St. Louis Blues opened their 2018-19 campaign, the expectations were sky high. The Blues had won the offseason, bringing in some talented players that were going to take this team from a playoff outcast to Cup contender. That’s what we all told ourselves.

There was no doubting the talent on paper, but it all transpired differently. The Blues sputtered out of the gate and things went from bad to worse as the winter approached.

Clearly, the slow start cost the team itself. If not for an amazing 11 game win streak, with a few wins sprinkled in before and after, the Blues would not even be in a playoff position. Sure, they might be in the running for a wild card, but they would certainly not be in a divisional playoff spot.

However, one of the things nobody would have expected is that the slow performances would be so wide spread within the team. Something that has now impacted is the potential for awards for individual members of the Blues.

While ESPN’s hockey coverage went way down after they lost the TV rights, there are still some decent pieces put together. One of them discussed the current state of affairs for potential awards and it looks like several St. Louis Blues members will come up short.

You can look at that in two ways. On the positive side, the Blues have gone from a team that was in danger of being blown up to having players even in consideration for postseason honors. On the other hand, you can look at it in terms of that slow start costing those players that same opportunity.


One of the biggest surprises of the season has been Jordan Binnington. He went from little more than an AHL backup to one of the biggest stories in the entire league.

Nobody was even thinking Binnington would get a whiff of the NHL this season when 2018-19 began. Suddenly, he is the team’s primary starter and putting up superb numbers.

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Entering the month of March, Binnington had a goals against well below two goals per game and a .933 save percentage, both of which lead the league as of writing. As pointed out in the ESPN piece, he also has fantastic, sometimes hard to believe, numbers in goals against above average and quality starts.

The reason he is unlikely to win, however, is the number of games played. While Binnington has now played enough games to be qualified as the top goaltender for several statistical categories, he still does not have a bunch of games under his belt.

Even if Binnington had little or no rest the remaining portion of the season, he would only get to between 35 and 38 games played. When several of the other rookies in the running for the Calder Trophy have played in well over half their team’s games, it puts you at a disadvantage.

The one thing Binnington will have going for him is time of season. His surge to the front of public consciousness has come near the end of the season, so it will be fresh in the minds of voters.

Also benefitting BinNasty is the fact the Blues are likely to make the playoffs, much of which would be due to his play. Few, if any of his competitors in this category will make the playoffs.

There are a few who have pondered Binnington’s candidacy for Vezina, but that’s a bit too far out of reach.

Lady Bing

Most years, Ryan O’Reilly is at the forefront of the voting for the Lady Bing Trophy. It is given to the player who exhibits the best qualities of gentlemanly play.

O’Reilly has finished in the top-10 in Bing voting the last five years. His frustration at the Blues slow start may have put him behind the eight ball though.

In reality, O’Reilly is probably a victim of his own consistency. Every year he has flopped back and forth between double-digit penalty minutes and single digits. Unfortunately for him, this season is one he was bound to have double digits.

O’Reilly is still up there in terms of “sportsmanlike” conduct though. 10 penalty minutes is barely anything to speak of in today’s NHL terms and funny enough, the majority of those came near the beginning of the season. In fact, O’Reilly had two penalties in one game at the beginning of the year and has hardly had anything since.

But, as pointed out in the ESPN article, O’Reilly is behind Aleksander Barkov. Barkov has only taken one penalty to this point.

What is impressive about both of these guys is they play a solid 200 foot game. They are not overly physical, but they do not get pushed around on the defensive side of the game either.

In the end, it will likely come down to numbers on this one. If it does, O’Reilly comes in second for the second straight year.

Jack Adams

Possibly the most interesting and potentially tight race for a postseason award will be for the Jack Adams Award. It is handed out to the best coach in the NHL.

What makes this and so many awards interesting is the wording. This award is given out to the coach “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.”

So, that does not automatically mean the best coach if you do not want to vote that way. If you voted for the best coach, you might lean toward Jon Cooper. He’s got the best team and made sure they have not let their foot off the gas at all.

If you go more by the actual wording, contributing the most to their team’s success, it would be a two horse race between Craig Berube and Barry Trotz.

Berube’s chances will depend largely on how well the Blues finish. He has pushed the team from dead last in the entire league to third place in the Central Division.

However, Trotz has just as much a claim, if not more, to the award. Once John Tavares left, the New York Islanders were left for dead by most pundits. Trotz and his system has pushed the Islanders to the top of their division.

If Berube got the Blues to the top of the Central, he would be assured of winning the award. Going from worst to first in one season would be too hard to pass up.

But, the reality is that the Blues would likely need another big winning streak to overcome the two teams currently ahead of them. That is not likely to happen, so we are looking at an almost guaranteed playoff spot, but no guarantee of a divisional spot or higher than third.

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So, Trotz would probably get the win there. Overall, Berube probably has the best chance though. After all, Ken Hitchcock was not expected to win the year he did in St. Louis, so perhaps there is the same magic behind the bench this year.