The St. Louis Blues currently sit at 3-4-1 after being taken out for a walk by Colorado last night, good for bottom five in the Western Conference and seventh-worst in the NHL.
It is only eight games in, and we have had a couple of good showings against Pittsburgh and Calgary (who are sixth and second to last in the NHL respectively as of now).
Yes, 3-4-1 is only a win away from being .500. But if you’ve been watching this team so far this year, you may have noticed it, unfortunately, looks a little bit too familiar to the lottery-contending team we saw last year.
A power play that somehow seems to generate momentum for the other team, one-and-done offensive rushes, getting out-battled and out-skated by the other team, and if I had a dollar for every defensive zone turnover we’ve made I could probably buy myself season tickets.
If you wanted to hear how this frustration of mine would sound in person, don’t worry, Biz put it perfectly during the first intermission last night.
But we don’t just lash out with opinions on this website, so here are some receipts if you’re wondering why I think this 3-4-1 team is worse than even their record suggests.
Through 8 games we do not have a single forward with more than two goals. Are there any other teams that share in this stat? Yes, the 32nd-place San Jose Sharks who are 0-8-1.
The St. Louis Blues are 1/25 on the power play this year giving them the elusive title of worst power play in the NHL, with their only goal being a deflection by Pavel Buchnevich against Winnipeg last week.
Through eight games we are second worst in the league with an abysmal 1.75 goals per game, and second worst in shots per game (seems to be a correlation here).
If you remove the first two games where the Blues played some stellar team defense, our goals allowed per game in the last six games is 3.83, which is good for….worst in the league.
Unfortunately, I did buy into the Blues’ offseason advertising campaign boasting that this would be a year of redemption. Brayden Schenn has been a leader in the locker room long before he was ever given the C, I loved the additions of Jakub Vrana and Kasperi Kapanen last year, and these forward lines SEEMED like solid four lines that can all threaten to score.
But unfortunately watching games like last night and the embarrassing showing the St. Louis Blues had against Vancouver on October 27th (I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen an NHL team get outshot 19-3 in a period like the Blues did) are forcing me to face an ugly truth: this roster just doesn’t compete with star-studded rosters full of game-breakers such as Nathan Mackinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, or Elias Petterson.
The Blues have never been a team that relies on a top-heavy roster that includes multiple superstars such as a Toronto or Colorado, we found our success the last 10 years by having some elite players + depth scoring from our third and fourth lines.
Well not only do we not have that depth scoring, but our two $8 million AAV guys Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou are on pace for 30 goals and 90 points combined this season. Those are totals I would expect from each of them if they’re getting eight sheets a year from ole Dougie Armstrong.
Like I mentioned in this previous article, I don’t think the St. Louis Blues’ front office will let this go on too long. We’re not the type of franchise that can afford another lottery-contending year, so changes might be made sooner rather than later.
My opinion though is that a change on the bench won’t change much because our problem lies in the fact that our roster just doesn’t compete with teams like the one we faced last night in Colorado (or come close).
Moves like giving out the expensive contracts to Thomas and Kyrou who have yet to come close to earning them, and having multiple defensemen making $6 million + a year who are performing at a $2 million AAV at best is what has gotten us here.
What I don’t understand is why after Scott Perunovich was on the ice for 0 goals in his 3 games played (including the 5-0 route from Vancouver) we decided to sit him, a fast, skilled defenseman, against a fast+skilled team. It might have led to this goal not happening here, where Ross Colton took Tyler Tucker out for a walk.
And since we seem to have some issues scoring, Zachary Bolduc scored 50 goals in 61 games last season in junior. Whatever reason Bolduc gave the coaching staff in training camp to not have him start with the team this season, the current starting forwards have given the staff a much better reason to give Bolduc a chance.
If you bought into their redemption campaign this summer as a fan unfortunately the product you bought from that advertisement turned out to be ugly offense, ugly defense, an even uglier power play, and one Jordan Binnington trying to somehow keep this team above water (so far, I whisper to myself as I will still be hopelessly watching every game this year hoping I am wrong).
I normally wouldn’t be so negative when we’re only 8 games into the season, but to me, this doesn’t feel like a new season. It just feels like the team that was in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes last season took a three-month break and returned with more of the same.