Did the St Louis Blues exceed expectations in the 2023-2024 season?

St Louis Blues v Montreal Canadiens
St Louis Blues v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

According to BETMGM's current weekly power rankings, the St. Louis Blues are ranked No. 19. Since the Blues didn't qualify for the playoffs, this statistic holds little significance and will keep changing as teams get eliminated from the playoffs.

Nonetheless, the rankings before this year were somewhat correct. The team's performance in the 2023-2024 season resulted in a No. 16 standing in the NHL, coinciding with their position in the NHL Draft Lottery held on May 7th.

Before the 2023-2024 season started, the Blues power rankings varied. Hockey News gave the Blues a ranking of 25, while ESPN analysts varied between placing them 15th and 23rd. SN ranked the Blues at No. 24 before the season began.

The St. Louis Blues proved many sports pundits wrong by surpassing their predicted performance, albeit by a small margin.

Expect the Blues to remain in a middle-ranking for the upcoming season

While it may seem crazy to predict next season's rankings this early, sports analytics have become integral to professional sports and set the benchmark.

Though, several pivotal events have yet to happen, and the Blues have many opportunities to add crucial players, especially through free agency.

Critical decisions await GM Doug Armstrong, including hiring a permanent head coach and evaluating trade proposals. The team will likely enhance their roster by utilizing the trade market or seeking free-agent acquisitions. 

Also, it is vital to recognize that any rankings listed now and through summer are premature and fail to consider team development. Both Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, who have earned all-star nods in the last two years, are exceptional players. Considering their age and a team specifically built to support their talent, there is a strong chance they will have another breakout year. The Blues are depending on this.

The fact that Thomas and Kyrou agreed to similar contract extensions highlights Armstrong's belief in their future and their importance to the team.

The Blues will unlikely improve for next season's play via the NHL Draft, but trade scenarios and free-agent pick-ups will inevitably influence their offseason plan.

Sports analytics often transforms general managers' approach to team development and future planning, but they also can overlook and can’t accurately predict individual players' growth.

Being in the middle of the standings after firing head coach Craig Berube and having a roster that has undergone significant changes is probably a positive outcome. The Blues came close to making the playoffs this season and will analyze their weaknesses to improve their chances next year.

Regardless of the pundits' speculations, Blues fans should be excited and optimistic about the offseason acquisitions Armstrong has in mind.