St. Louis Blues offseason recap & regular season predictions


AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The Blues celebrate their first Stanley Cup win in franchise history.

Hockey is finally back, and the St. Louis Blues are hopefully ready to begin another Stanley Cup journey. Last season before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blues had a strong hold over the central division as they held first place in the standings for a vast majority of the year up until the COVID-19 pandemic. Once they returned to live action games, all of the Blues’ momentum had vanished, as they looked slow and uncomfortable out of the gate. This led to them getting eliminated from the 2020 playoffs by the Vancouver Canucks in game 6 of the first round.

After this painful early exit, questions circled about what were the Blues going to do in the offseason. Salary cap space issues hurt the Blues throughout the offseason, as one of the main goals was to resign former captain and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. In attempts to shed cap space, the Blues made small moves like trading goaltender Jake Allen to the Canadiens and letting players enter free agency like Troy Brouwer. Sadly, all of this effort went for nothing; Pietrangelo left St. Louis and signed a 7 year, $61.6 million deal with the Vegas Golden Knights back in October. St. Louis, however, still had intentions to make some signings during the offseason. Here are some of the signings that were made.


Torey Krug:

The Blues needed to fill the defensive gap with the loss of Pietrangelo, so they went out and got arguably the 2nd best defenseman on the market in Torey Krug. Krug signed a 7 year, $45.5 million deal in October and should fit nicely into the Blues’ scheme defensively, as Krug is a solid puck-handler and fantastic on the powerplay — something the Blues desperately need right now, as they’ve struggled in that department to start out the season. Krug may not be Alex Pietrangelo, but he is still a top tier defenseman and hopefully he will be a cornerstone of another Blues cup run.


Mike Hoffman:

Another great signing by the Blues as they went out and got wing/scoring depth in Mike Hoffman. Hoffman was signed to a 1 year, $4 million deal and is a marquee goal scorer in the NHL, as he has scored 20+ goals in 6 straight NHL seasons. With Vladimir Tarasenko looking to be out for a good portion of the season due to shoulder surgery, Hoffman will provide solid scoring numbers on the 2nd-3rd line and will help the powerplay tremendously with his ability to one-time the puck. In my opinion this signing was amazing, especially due to how cheap Hoffman was to sign. If he performs under par the Blues can trade him at the deadline due to his high value.


Kyle Clifford:

While not as big a name as Hoffman and Krug, Kyle Clifford is a strong signing. Clifford was signed to a 2 year, $2 million deal and is known for his toughness/grit on the ice. He draws comparisons to Ryan Reaves, who was a fan favorite in his time in St. Louis. Clifford may not be a goal scorer, but he is a strong penalty killer and will play a strong, physical brand of hockey on the 4th line. Clifford serves as a strong team depth signing and will prove valuable to this team as the season progresses.


Other signings: Vince Dunn, Jacob de la Rose, Jon Gillies, Sam Anas, Curtis McKenzie, Steve Santini, Austin Poganski, Jake Walman, and Jake Neighbours


Overall, this offseason was solid for the Blues as they went out and acquired key depth pieces along with trying to fill in gaps the team has. Losing guys like Alexander Steen and Jay Bouwmeester to retirement does hurt the Blues in the experience department, but they made up for it with some of these signings. Doug Armstrong is proving again why he is one of the best general managers in the NHL, as he is working tirelessly to keep the Blues in the Stanley Cup hunt. Hopefully players like Torey Krug and Mike Hoffman can help get us there.


The season has already begun and the Blues are currently in 3rd place in the West division. The divisions are stacked up differently this year due to the pandemic and the NHL tried to keep teams in their general region. There are four total divisions and they are West, Central, East and North. In this 56 game season, teams can only play other teams from their division. The Blues are going up against teams like the Avalanche, Wild, Golden Knights, and Kings in the West division and hopefully will continue to succeed and make the playoffs. I expect a few players to breakout or step-up in means of production. Here are some of the guys I think will breakout/step-up.


Jordan Kyrou:

Kyrou is already showing his true potential so far this season and looks to be setting a course for a strong breakout year. Kyrou has started out the season with 6 goals, 8 assists and is 2nd on the team with 14 total points through 15 games played so far this season. Kyrou gives the Blues extra life on the 3rd line playing alongside Tyler Bozak and Jaden Schwartz. Hopefully Kyrou can continue his success on the ice as the season progress since he is a big piece for the Blues when it comes to the franchise’s future.


Justin Faulk:

Faulk was signed during the 2019-2020 offseason and fans were hyping him up to become one of the Blues’ top defensemen. However, in his first season he didn’t perform up to expectations. Faulk had reached the 30 point mark in each of his previous six seasons going into last season but only finished with sixteen points through sixty-nine games — truly disappointing. This year is Faulk’s chance to step up and become one of the main guys on the blueline, which he has done so far as through 16 games played he has 5 goals, 8 points and +/- rating of 15 which is a big improvement from his negative three +/- rating the previous year.


Robert Thomas:

Thomas is a player with a high ceiling as he gets lots of praise for his stick handling, playmaking ability, and game changing speed. Thomas has not disappointed so far this season statistically, as through 12 games played he has a goal, 5 assists, 6 points and a +/- rating of 3. These numbers are good, but it’s the consistency that Thomas needs to worry about as he has had two multi-assist games, but then goes silent for the next few games. Thomas is proving to be a legit Top Six forward, but he just needs to be consistent to reach that goal.


The St. Louis Blues are a team showing great interest. They’ve built a strong team with loads of depth coming from their prospects and look to be ready for another Stanley Cup push. The Blues also have some issues that need to be addressed as well, as even with these acquisitions they have struggled on special teams like the power play and penalty kill as the power play percentage (PP%) is at 6.3% and their penalty kill percentage (PK%) is at 65.4%. Both of these statlines are neither proud nor promising, but it is still early in the season and there’s still time to fix these team issues. Getting Vladimir Tarasenko back at full strength by the time the playoff season comes around will only bolster their Stanley Cup aspirations. I predict that the Blues will finish the 2020-2021 season with a record of 35-17-4 and will finish 2nd in the West division just behind Vegas. Hopefully from there we can retrieve our 2nd Stanley Cup and Let’s Go Blues!