In just 1 week from today, the starting lineup for the St. Louis Blues and the 2023-24 NHL regular season kicks off. The league’s 107th season will begin, with 32 teams all vying for the coveted Stanley Cup, currently held by 7th-year squad Vegas after their first championship in franchise history.
For the Blues, it will be an attempt to return to the playoffs after failing to qualify for the first time in 6 seasons, back in 2017-18, oddly enough, 1 year before their first Cup championship. After a stringent retool for most of the 2nd half of 2022-23, who can be expected to be up front for St. Louis in their season opener, October 12 at Dallas?
Offensive Starting Lineup: Pavel Buchnevich and Robert Thomas
Arguably the best part of the Blues for this season, the duo of Buchnevich and his scoring ability combined with Thomas’ passing prowess could be a lethal combination for St. Louis. Jordan Kyrou, projected to be the starting right winger, is another key player with similar scoring levels to Buchnevich.
Jakub Vrana and new captain Brayden Schenn, alongside Kasperi Kapanen, also make a solid backup line behind the Blues’ top trio. With two big offensive lines for the Blues already, even before the season’s gotten underway, things may already be looking up.
The Blues’ projected 3rd line consists of veteran Brandon Saad in his 3rd season with St. Louis after 7 seasons with Chicago, 1 with Colorado, and a pair with Columbus. Fellow veteran and newcomer Kevin Hayes, acquired from the Flyers during the summer trade deadline, looks to bring yet another high-scoring talent to a team that could greatly benefit from one. Sammy Blais makes up the last of the Blues’ 3rd line, entering the final year of a 1-year, $1 million contract, as come this offseason, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent should the Blues choose not to extend him.
Defensive Starting Lineup: Veterans from Rival Chicago and Others
Nick Leddy and Colton Parayko make up the top line where the Blues need the most work heading into this season – the defensive side of the puck. Leddy, like Saad, also spent some time in the Windy City, and, before, started his career in Long Island.
Conveniently enough, he’s also suiting up for his 3rd season in St. Louis. Torey Krug and Justin Faulk serve as St. Louis’ 2nd defensive line, and Krug being in the top spot there is very promising, seeing as he injured his right foot while training this summer.
He’ll also make his preseason debut tonight against Columbus. Scott Perunovich and Robert Bertuzzo make up the Blues’ 3rd defense line, a nice young and old combination there (Perunovich is 25; Bertuzzo, 32), and while this leaves veteran D Marco Scandella out of the mix for the moment, he’s still expected for some time this season.
And finally, the last line of defense for any NHL squad, the goalies. The goaltender, netminder, or whatever you want to call them. As expected, Jordan Binnington will start ahead of AHL veteran/NHL rookie Joel Hofer, who, with his skills with Springfield last season, already looks like a solid backup in the whole league.
Now, if Binnington can just get his act together on the ice, unlike last season…