Making a Case for Blues Interim Coach Drew Bannister

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

Did the St. Louis Blues meet or outperform expectations set for interim head coach Drew Bannister?

This is perhaps the question going through Blues general manager Doug Armstrong’s mind.

Armstrong fired Craig Berube, the beloved coach who led the team to the only Stanley Cup victory in their history after he recorded a poor start of 13-14-1.

Under Bannister’s guidance, the Blues showed significant improvement, finishing with a record of 30-19-4. While this didn’t match Berube’s first-year success of reaching the playoffs and winning the Stanley Cup, Bannister’s leadership led the Blues to a respectable fifth place in the Central Division with 92 points.

Blues fans should feel encouraged. The roster is young, and the team has made several changes over the last two years, all but screaming that a “rebuild” is in progress.

Bannister has extensive experience both playing and coaching at a competitive level.

Bannister is a promising coach with an impressive track record. He not only led the Blues affiliate San Antonio Rampage but also guided the Springfield Thunderbirds to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2021 and 2022, even making the Calder Cup Finals.

Needless to say, it’s no surprise Bannister is being considered as a finalist for the permanent head coaching position. His last ten games showcased a respectable record of 5-3-2.

Winning solves everything, and the Blues inarguably outperformed expectations coming close to the playoffs themselves, especially after Berube’s firing. Perhaps Blues forward Robert Thomas said it best, “The record since he took over speaks for itself.”

Captain and fan favorite Brayden Schenn echoed Thomas, underlining how difficult Bannister’s situation and the atmosphere were after Berube’s firing. Yet, he succeeded and had an impressive win margin. 

The decision that Doug Armstrong has to make is crucial. His choice will shape the future of the Blues, and it’s exactly what the fans are eagerly waiting for.