ST. LOUIS BLUES
2012-13: 29-17-2, 60 points
Where they finished: 2nd in the Central, 3rd in the West, 6th in the NHL
Coach: Ken Hitchcock (3rd season)
Key additions: C Derek Roy, C Keith Aucoin, C Max Lapierre, LW Magnus Paajarvi
Key subtractions: LW David Perron
Patrik Berglund – David Backes – T.J. Oshie
Vladimir Tarasenko – Derek Roy – Chris Stewart
Jaden Schwartz – Vladimir Sobotka – Alexander Steen
Magnus Paajarvi – Max Lapierre – Ryan Reaves
Jay Boumeester – Alex Pietrangelo
Jordan Leopold – Kevin Shattenkirk
Barret Jackman – Roman Polak
Our take: A team that looks like it’s ready to take the next step in the Western Conference and a solid bet to make life difficult for both the Blackhawks and Kings this season.
St. Louis has made the Stanley Cup playoffs two years in a row. A lack of top-end skill was evident last spring so center Derek Roy, a mainstay for years in Buffalo, was brought in to help. The Blues will be in the mix. But will they score enough against the elite teams? There may not be a 30-goal scorer on this roster, but there are enough solid forwards it may not matter.
St. Louis is deep in goal with top prospect Jake Allen also waiting in the wings at AHL Chicago. The Blues still need to sign defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, a restricted free agent and rising star at age 23. Playing him with veteran Jay Boumeester, acquired in a trade with Calgary late last season, gives the Blues a formidable top pair.
Offseason Grade: B
Will they make the playoffs in 2013-14: Yes.