The St. Louis Blues’ 55th season saw the team finish with a record of 37-38-7 and 6th of 8th in the Central Division, 14 points out of a playoff spot. There were many factors leading to the Blues’ average play this season, and many are wondering what exactly went wrong. Well, it’s a long list, and we’ll break it down right here.
First off, the defense. When a team wins 3 straight games to open the season and then loses 8 straight immediately afterward, something is quite wrong. St. Louis ranked 27th of the 32 NHL teams in team defense in 2022-23, allowing an average of nearly 4 goals a game, a massive increase from 2021-22, where they allowed an average of less than 1 per game.
That was good enough for 11th overall in the league. The 27th ranking, on the other hand, was the Blues’ worst performance since 1987-88, where they also placed 11th amongst 21 teams and it was their 9th worst defensive showing in franchise history.
The St. Louis Blues have a long road ahead
Another blemish on the Blues’ performance this season was their penalty kill. Ranking 30th of 32 teams only above Anaheim and Vancouver, this was another sharp contrast to 2021-22, where they finished 5th overall. Faceoff percentage and the power play were the final nails in the coffin for the Blues this season, with league rankings of 24th and 27th, respectively. On top of that, the latter stat was a top-10 finish for the Blues in 2021-22, marking another steep decline in performance.
Head coach Craig Berube is also somewhat to blame for the Blues’ poor play this season. After the trade deadline, he hit the reset button for the franchise after trading away some key players like Ryan O’Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs and superstar Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers. But at least St. Louis still has plenty of young prospects available in their minor pro affiliates and of course, in this year’s Entry Draft in Nashville at the end of June.
So what will 2023-24, the Blues’ 56th season in the league, have in store? We’ll see in mid-October when regular season things get back underway. Until then, Blues fans are stuck watching playoffs they could’ve had the chance of making.