Central Division Preview: St. Louis Blues

Frederick Breedon

We're taking a look at the teams in the newly revamped Central Division. Who are they? Who plays for them? How much booing should Predators fans be expected to rain down on them? Today, let's examine the St. Louis Blues.

Previous Season

4th in the West. They didn't win their division again, but still had another strong season, with a few hiccups along the way. Had the misfortune of drawing the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. In one of the better playoff series in recent years, jumped out to a 2-0 lead before falling in 6 games.


2013 Season Stats

29-17-2 (60), GF & GF/G: 124, 2.58 (17th), GA & GA/G: 114, 2.38 (7th), PP: 19.5 % (12th), PK: 84.7% (7th)

The Blues were a very well-rounded team able to beat opponents in almost every facet of the game.

Goaltending

Brian Elliot: .909%, 2.56 career

Jaroslav Halak: .917, 2.41 career

Jake Allen: .905%, 2.46 career (only 15 NHL games)

The Blues have somewhat of a three-headed monster in goal right now, and it struggled for a bit last season. One would assume that Allen starts the year in the AHL. Of the other two, Elliot appears to be in line for the starter's spot as Halak had an off year last season. However, if you're the Blues, there are worse problems to have than two capable starters challenging each other for the top spot.

Notable Additions

  • Magnus Paajarvi (Acquired from Oilers)
  • Derek Roy
  • Maxime Lapierre
  • Keith Aucoin

Paajarvi comes to St. Louis while David Perron goes to Edmonton. The Swede scored 15 goals in his first season with the Oilers in 2010-11, but only 11 in 83 games over the next two seasons. The Blues hope he can blossom into a reliable player with the pieces they already have in place.

Keith Aucoin is a little guy that is a stud in the AHL (tallying over 800 points) but is still trying to find his place in the majors. The journeyman is hoping he's found that with the Blues, but let's not get too ahead of ourselves.

Players You Should Know

  • David Backes
  • T.J. Oshie
  • Alexander Steen
  • Vladimir Tarasenko
  • Alex Pietrangelo
  • Kevin Shattenkirk

This is a team that is flat out hard to play against. Ask L.A. about that. They don't have the flashiest of offensive scorers, but they aren't pushovers either. And every team has their "if healthy" guy, and this season it falls to Tarasenko. The rookie dazzled at the start of last season's campaign, but was sidelined with concussions.

Rivalry Potential

3.5 Weber Smashes

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There might be some residual distaste from being "old" Central division counterparts, but between the Wild and the Hawks, a Predators fan can only hate so much. The extra half-point is for the hopes that these two duke it out down the stretch leading up to the playoffs.

Playoff Team?

Yes. They were a top 10 defensive team last year, They have a good goaltending tandem and a good crop of forwards to boot. They have everything they need to make it to the second season for the third consecutive year. The problem for them is going to be making waves once they are in, which they haven't been able to do the past couple of years.

Game Dates vs Nashville

Date Visitor Home Time (Central)
Thu Oct 3, 2013 Nashville St. Louis 7:00 PM
Sat Oct 26, 2013 St. Louis Nashville 7:00 PM
Sat Feb 1, 2014 Nashville St. Louis 7:00 PM
Thu Mar 6, 2014 St. Louis Nashville 7:00 PM
Sat Mar 15, 2014 St. Louis Nashville 7:00 PM

Sites to Follow

Besides our SB Nation fellows at St. Louis Game Time, the site to follow for clues on the Blues is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where Jeremy Rutherford heads up the coverage.

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