St. Louis Blues Are Still Deeper Than Most Give Them Credit For

St. Louis Blues right wing Alexei Toropchenko (65) skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames duringMandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues right wing Alexei Toropchenko (65) skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames duringMandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Every offseason there is a section of the fan base that is not satisfied. Either the St. Louis Blues did not do enough to improve themselves or they made too many changes, possibly altering locker room chemistry.

The truth usually sits in the middle. That is again true during the 2022 NHL offseason.

St. Louis did not really do much in the frenzy of activity surrounding free agency. They re-signed Nick Leddy at a pretty good price and made a few ancillary moves for the bottom six or the minor leagues.

I have not seen many fans complain about Leddy, in and of himself, but many are worried about the players the Blues let walk. Of course, losing a 20-plus goal scorer in David Perron will hurt, but other names were not needle movers no matter how much social media might tell you otherwise.

Look, I love Ryan Reaves and Pat Maroon as much as the next Blues fan, but if you think those types of guys are truly the difference between winning and losing, you’re mistaken. The same is true of someone like Dakota Joshua or Tyler Bozak.

They’re fantastic players that play a style that fit with the Blues perfectly. That doesn’t mean they’re irreplaceable. It’s up to the next player to prove that, however.

In a nutshell, that’s what some are worried about. They worry the Blues have lost some of their depth and still don’t have enough high end talent to compete with Colorado.

I could write an entire article about why people need to stop bending the knee to the Avalanche and perhaps I will. That’s not the point. The point is the Blues are still in a pretty good spot.

As of August 3, 2022, Capfriendly lists the Blues having 13 forwards and seven defensemen, which is what most teams carry on a daily basis. Some of the guys that are listed on that particular roster are not going to make the team.

However, it does show that there is still depth there.

Some players that are likely to make the team out of training camp, or play at least 20 games for the team, are listed on the Springfield roster. Jake Neighbours is one of those players.

I’m not 100% on Neighbours’ eligibility, but I just don’t see them sending him back to his junior team again even if there’s still time left on that clock. He showed he could be an NHL player in 2021-22 and the only reason to send him back was to keep a year from arbitration.

Zachary Bolduc might be in the same boat as Neighbours last season. I would not be shocked to see him get his eight or nine game look this season before the team makes a decision. He was solid in the Traverse City prospects tournament and had another good year in junior. The Blues might not have room for him on the NHL roster this season, but he needs to be playing with pros as soon as he’s able.

St. Louis still has players like Nikita Alexandrov. He had 30 points in 67 games with Springfield. Not eye-popping numbers, but that was just his first full season in a North American league.

Hugh McGing also scored around a point every other game with the Springfield Thunderbirds. He’s a little older, but also just entering his second full pro season after leaving college.

Keenan Washkurak had a solid training camp in 2021. Tanner Dickinson and Mathais Laferriere are still players the Blues hope will make the squad at some point in their careers.

Klim Kostin has lost his shine, but he’s still a bulldozer of a player. He could easily be what Maroon is now, should he continue to grow off the ice.

I already discussed that Martin Frk is an interesting signing. Like Nathan Walker, he’s not going to play a full season, but he scores when you give him the shot.

Defensively, Springfield might be hurting if the Blues have to make call ups, but there are still players to pick from.

Scott Perunovich is currently listed on the Springfield roster for Capfriendly. He’s an NHL player, whether it’s now or soon.

Matthew Kessel is still somewhat of an unknown. He’s making good strides toward having the Blues make a decision though.

Calle Rosen was a solid bottom pair defender in his stint with the Blues in 2021-22. Steven Santini has NHL experience.

Of course, none of these guys make you salivate. They aren’t going to be the difference between the Blues winning a Stanley Cup or not.

Yet, these are all players the Blues can count on to play their roles and play well in limited duty. That’s all the Blues should need from these players anyway.

If you’re asking someone like Perunovich to be a top pair defender or Alexandrov in a top-six role, then you’re in trouble. However, that is the case regardless, because that means you’ve had that many injuries that you can’t even just push your current fourth-line guys into those roles.

Overall, the Blues are fine. They have a good mix of depth on the current roster with players like Ivan Barbashev, Noel Acciari, Nathan Walker, Alexei Toropchenko in addition to the players listed above.

Next. 3 Blues that might decline in 2022-23. dark

It goes without saying that the Blues need to stay healthy to win. However, the cupboard is not as bare as you might think.