St. Louis Blues: Predicting The 2021 Opening Night Roster

Robert Thomas #18 of the St. Louis Blues(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Robert Thomas #18 of the St. Louis Blues(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
St. Louis Blues
Robert Thomas #18 and Tyler Bozak #21 of the St Louis Blues(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Line 3

Tyler Bozak/Robert Thomas/Mike Hoffman

This line is where I’m going to deviate a lot from most of the local analysts and talking heads. Much of what has been said in print and on radio suggests that Robert Thomas will center the Blues top line between Schwartz and Schenn on the wing.

Until I see it with my own eyes, I do not believe it. I believe the Blues will go for depth rather than talent at the top.

Playing Thomas makes sense for both the team’s production and his own development. I just do not see the Blues being quite ready to hand him those reigns and push Schenn to the wing just yet.

Some say it will start that way and perhaps be moved to my way later. I say the reverse to where Thomas will start on the third line and perhaps change if other lines are not producting.

Similarly, it’s not conventional thinking to have Mike Hoffman, a potential 30-goal scorer, on your third line. Again, it’s more a matter of depth than a demotion for Hoffman.

Hoffman would provide a playmaker like Thomas a legitimate scoring threat to set up. The addition of Tyler Bozak to this line provides leadership, stability and guidance for Thomas and also a potent faceoff threat if Thomas continues to struggle a little in that area.

Bozak is aging, but he can still score too. Moving to the wing might prolong his career.


Ivan Barbashev/Oskar Sundqvist/Kyle Clifford

If we continue with the duo theme, then Oskar Sundqvist and Ivan Barbashev staying together makes sense. Either one are capable of moving up the lineup in a pinch, but are both more than capable of making the most of limited fourth-line minutes.

When he was signed, I could have easily envisioned Kyle Clifford as being a Jordan Nolan type. The Blues might have brought him in for a certain reason, but he just did not fit.

To start the year, Clifford is going to be given every chance to make and stay on this team. He’s just too much of a Craig Berube type of player to not get his minutes, at least to start the season.

Clifford will be the first name off the roster when it comes to sneaking in some other names, like Kyrou or Mackenzie MacEachern, for game time. He will likely get a good 10-15 games under his belt before that happens though.