St. Louis Blues: What Made Hiring Drew Bannister the Right Choice?

St Louis Blues v Florida Panthers
St Louis Blues v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

While analysts are divided on what impact coaches have in professional sports, hockey fans typically respect their coaches, noting that their philosophies often make the difference in success or failure.

Some St. Louis Blues fans felt disappointed when Drew Bannister's interim tag was removed, while others were pleased to see general manager Doug Armstrong make the decision.

There is one primary reason the decision to hire Bannister makes sense

Bannister had a successful year, compiling a final record of 30-19-5.

His previous head-coaching experience is centered around the AHL and development.

And this is why he is the right coach for the Blues.

Doug Armstrong is building the team around Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou. Bannister knows Kyrou well and has coached him in the AHL.

The Blues are arguably rebuilding and exceeded expectations in 2023-24. Armstrong's activity in the 2023 NHL Draft signaled the team is building for the future. Thomas and Kyrou are also young players, each earning an All-Star appearance in the last two years.

Craig Berube was an excellent coach but perhaps a better leader suited for a veteran team.

Bannister's success at the AHL level is impressive, and he knows how to win with young players.

General managers often make coaching decisions based on single players, notably stars. When LeBron James played his first several years with the Cleveland Cavaliers, coaches sought to develop his talent and success.

The decision to hire Bannister is nothing different. With a solid lineup of young stars, the Blues are in a good position, and Bannister's expertise will ensure Thomas and Kyrou reach their full potential.

One could argue that he deserved a longer deal than the two-year contract extension he signed last week.

Despite potential disappointment or division among fans regarding his hiring, I expect Bannister's success. His hiring signals the Blues' confidence in their youthful future.