St. Louis Blues Assistant Hires Not Exciting, But Don’t Need To Be

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues had some news to reveal just a day after the 2022-23 season officially ended with the Vegas Golden Knights winning the Stanley Cup. The team announced two additions to the coaching staff.

Mike Weber will join the staff as an assistant coach, presumably on the bench with Craig Berube and Steve Ott. Michael Babcock, son of former NHL head coach Mike Babcock, was brought in to be a skills coach.

The interesting thing about both hires is the clear focus on the defensive end.

Weber is a former defenseman, with 341 NHL games under his belt, mostly with the Buffalo Sabres. While we don’t know about his coaching philosophy, he will likely want to get this team a little more physical since he averaged two or more hits per game as a player.

As far as Babcock, who knows what a “skills coach” will have for job duties. Chris Kerber said on 101 ESPN that the team was often a little underwhelmed with the practice fundamentals and set up, so Babcock will have a hand in that.

In his previous job with the Ottawa Senators, Babcock helped develop game plans, pre-scouting opponents and with on-ice skill development, per the Blues website. When he was an assistant with the University of Saskatchewan, he ran the team’s defense and power play. The Huskies finished that season second on the power play with a percentage of 28.1%.

Both the defense and power play were definite areas of concern for the Blues in 2022-23. Unless Doug Armstrong can pull some of his magic moves in the 2023 offseason, the personnel on the ice will likely be the same or similar. That means any help you can bring in from a coaching standpoint will be most welcome.

As far as what kind of impact either of these guys will have, that remains to be seen. Neither of them are known commodities, so we can’t really even venture a guess.

The Rochester Americans had a good amount of success with Weber on the coaching staff. How much he had to do with it can’t really be quantified. All we know is the Americans and the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL all had good postseason runs with Weber on their staffs.

Babcock is only 28, so he has even less of a resume. However, we should view the youth on the staff as a good thing.

One of the unfortunate results of the implosion during 2022-23 was the admission from Armstrong and Berube that they struggled to find ways to properly communicate with their players. Part of that is on the players themselves, but maybe having coaches that are not too far removed from that age will help bridge that gap.

As I mentioned a few days ago, whoever the Blues brought in as a defensive coach was going to be huge. That did not mean it had to be a big or known name, as long as they get the job done once the team hits the ice.

We have seen how big an impact the loss of assistants can have. Now, we have to hope the Blues have made the right hires to have a similar impact with the additions.

Some fans might be upset that these guys are unknown. Even I would not have minded bringing in a known commodity, such as a former NHL head coach.

The counter point to that is the Blues needing some steadiness on their bench. Other than Steve Ott, there has been a good deal of turnover the past few seasons.

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If Weber and Babcock do things right, hopefully they can steady the ship and stick around awhile. Now, it’s time to get to work for those defensemen.