Central Focus: St. Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues took the offseason with a grain of salt this year. Overall, the team has more depth and more veteran presence. They lost some players that were fixtures on the fourth line and gained some guys that have some skill and leadership to help the younger players develop.

Departures

 
PLAYER 2011-12 Team
Tyson Strachan, D Florida
Dave Scatchard, C Free Agent
Chris Porter, LW Free Agent
Nathan Oystrick, D Phoenix
Cam Janssen, RW New Jersey
Ty Conklin, G Detroit
Dean Arsene, D Phoenix
Graham Mink, LW

Free Agent

Paul Kariya, LW retired

 

Arrivals

 
PLAYER FROM
Jonathan Cheechoo, RW Free Agent
Jason Arnott, C Washington
Brian Elliott, G Colorado
Kent Huskins, D San Jose
Jamie Langenbrunner, RW Dallas
Brett Sterling, LW

Pittsburgh

Scott Nichol, C San Jose

 

The biggest loss might have been Paul Kariya due to retirement, even though he didn't play last season. Arnott and Langenbrunner are the elder statesman on the Blues this season and have played together before in New Jersey and Dallas. Scott Nichol is a good fourth line center, and taking a flyer on Cheecho doesn't hurt either. Huskins will battle for the 6th spot on the blueline, and Elliott will have to beat out Ben Bishop for the backup role behind Halak.

Blues Forwards

 
Andy McDonald David Backes Chris Stewart
David Perron Patrik Berglund T.J. Oshie
Alex Steen Jason Arnott Jamie Langenbrunner
Valdimir Sobotka Scott Nichol B.J. Crombeen
Jonathan Cheechoo T.J. Hensick Matt D'Agostini

 

Blues Defenceman

 
Alex Pietrangelo Barrett Jackman
Roman Polak Carlo Colaiacovo
Kevin Shattenkirk Nikita Nikitin
Kent Huskins Ian Cole

 

Blues Golatenders

 
Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott

Ben Bishop

 

New Acquisition

Should the Blues be better than last year? On paper, they should. Adding Langenbrunner and Arnott alone should help, but both are over 35 years old, so don't expect much. It might be more of a player-coach situation with both players. McDonald and Backes will lead the offense with help from Perron and Stewart, who needs to show the flair he had in Colorado. If Oshie solves his attitude issues he can be a scoring threat from the second line. Pietrangelo is quietly growing into a number one defenceman, but doesn't have a lot of help from anyone. Halak is the key; if they lose him, the Blues will sink fast. Expect them to be fighting the Blue Jackets for 4th in the Central. The playoffs are still a few seasons away.

Kyle Busch

www.twitter.com/KyleBusch11