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  • KNOW YOUR ENEMY: 2017-18 Central Division Preview -- St. Louis Blues

    Giles Ferrell

    St. Louis Blues
    Head Coach: Mike Yeo (second season with STL)
    Arena: Scottrade Center
    2016-17 Record: 46-29-7, 99 points (third in Central Division)
    2016-17 Record vs MIN: 2-2-0
    Top Scorer: Vladimir Tarasenko (39 goals-36 assists-75 points)
    Top Goaltender: Jake Allen (33-20-5, 2.42 Goals Against Average, .915 Save Percentage, four shutouts)

    2016-17 recap:


    Wild fans are far too familiar with how the Blues finished last year. After a rollercoaster regular season in which head coach Ken Hitchcock was fired and replaced with former Wild head coach Mike Yeo, the Blues made it to the playoffs and had a first-round matchup with Minnesota. With the Wild being heavily favored, Minnesota threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Blues net but just could not beat Jake Allen, who allowed eight goals in the five-game series. After upsetting the Wild in round one, the Blues ran into the buzzsaw that was Nashville and were sent home in six games.

    Offseason losses: F Jori Lehtera, F Ryan Reaves, F David Perron, F Scottie Upshall, and F Nail Yakupov

    There were a lot of changes for the Blues up front this offseason. At the NHL Draft, the Blues sent Jori Lehtera to the Flyers. and somehow got a first-round pick for Ryan Reaves from the Penguins (albeit, the 31st overall pick). David Perron, who had signed a two-year deal with the Blues in the summer of 2016, was the Blues' selection by the Vegas Golden Knights in the Expansion Draft.

    Offseason additions: F Brayden Schenn, F Beau Bennett, F Chris Thorburn, and F Oskar Sundqvist

    Coming back in the Lehtera trade from Philadelphia was Brayden Schenn, who has put together back-to-back 50-plus point seasons with the Flyers. But besides Schenn, the Blues apparently want to grind it out this season as they brought in career grinders Beau Bennett and Chris Thorburn to roam around on their fourth line. This definitely sounds like a Yeo-coached team.

    Projected lines (via dailyfaceoff):

    Jaden Schwartz-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko
    Robby Fabbri-Alex Steen-Brayden Schenn
    Ivan barbashev-Vladimir Sobotka-Dmitrij Jaskin
    Magnus Paajarvi-Kyle Brodziak-Beau Bennett

    Joel Edmundson-Alex Pietrangelo
    Carl Gunnarsson-Colton Parayko
    Vince Dunn-Robert Bortuzzo

    Jake Allen
    Carter Hutton

    2017-18 outlook:

    This is a Blues roster that has promise at the top, but when you get down the roster you notice depth becomes a bit of an issue. They'll get away with games under the defensive system of Yeo, but you also never know what you are going to get out of Jake Allen. With teams in the Central Division making big splashes this summer, the Blues could be seen as a team that just stood still, and might get passed by. They will be in the mix for a playoff spot, but if they suffer any kind of injuries on their top players, that might be the difference on what has them on the outside looking in come April.

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