The St. Louis Blues have been slow out of the gate coming off the pandemic. Offensively, they need more from their top trio.
When the St. Louis Blues said they were going to be reuniting their top line, it just made sense. Adding Vladimir Tarasenko to a team that held the top spot int he conference when the NHL paused was better than any trade.
On top of that, he was being placed back with two players that all had good starts to the season. In his first, and only, 10 games of the year, Tarasenko had three goals and 10 points.
Brayden Schenn had eight goals and 11 points. In fact, he had two goals on the night Tarasenko got hurt, proving he could step his game up at the right time.
Jaden Schwartz was not doing much goal scoring, since he only had one. However, he had nine points.
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Together, the trio had a combined 30 points in 10 games. It made sense to put them back together to see if they could find that same hot start, since the pandemic essentially served as a de facto offseason.
We have an extremely small sample size, but it has not worked quite yet.
The entire team got shut out against the Chicago Blackhawks in the exhibition. Against the Colorado Avalanche, the top line had good individual games, but did not look like a cohesive unit.
The Blues finished their first round-robin game with 32 shots. Only three total shots came from that top line.
Tarasenko had two of those. Schwartz had the other shot and Schenn failed to register a shot on goal.
It should be noted that Schenn did pick up an assist. However, the assist came on the power play, so he was not out there with both of the other two players.
As mentioned, it did not seem like any individual player had a bad game. They had jump, they put forth effort and were engaged in the game.
As a line, a unit that works cohesively, they did not accomplish anything. That has to change.
The Blues are struggling offensively as they have come out of the gate following the pandemic. Only one game has counted, but the Blues are typically a five-on-five team. They have no goals at even strength in two games.
You don’t want to put too much pressure on any one player or any one line, but you need your best offensive players to be at their best when the team is not scoring. That is definitely true for this line.
The Blues need Schwartz to be something close to what he was against the Winnipeg Jets last year. That series alone got Schwartz into the conversation for the Conn Smythe award.
They need the Schenn that scored goals in five straight in February and early March. They need Tarasenko to find one of his patented hot streaks.
St. Louis is a four-line, 12 forward team and everyone plays their role. The Blues rely on everyone and just keep chipping away at teams. They were never built to win on skill alone.
That said, they need their most skilled guys to step up while the other guys do the dirty work. The Blues are a hard forechecking team, but I’d be much happier with Tarasenko driving the net instead of feigning interest in going for a body check on the forecheck.
The top line needs to be just that, a top line. If they get going, the rest will follow.