Who are the greatest Blues players of all-time?

Different+St.+Louis+Blues+jersey%27s+over+the+course+of+franchise+history

Annie George

Different St. Louis Blues jersey’s over the course of franchise history

     

     The St. Louis Blues have been a part of the NHL since 1967 and are a well documented franchise. In 52 total NHL seasons, they have made the playoffs 42 times, the most by any team outside of the Original Six (Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens). Out of all of those playoff runs, though, the Blues have only one Stanley Cup win in four Stanley Cup final appearances. Throughout the franchise’s history, some great players have walked in the door and worn the blue note with pride as a way to show their love to this city and fanbase. Here is my ranking of the top-10 St. Louis Blues players of all-time. 

Honorable Mentions: Brian Elliot, Curtis Joseph, Alexander Steen and Barret Jackman  

10. David Backes

     At number ten we have longtime former Blues captain David Backes. Backes was drafted by the Blues in 2003 and boy did he turn out to be a good hockey player. In 10 seasons with the Blues, Backes personified consistency; his ability to remain consistent on the ice helped land him in the top ten in goals, assists, points, plus/minus rating and even strength goals  in franchise history. Besides his strong presence on the ice, Backes had a great locker room presence while he was Captain. Backes could always lift the team’s spirits in a heartbeat or talk to the young guys and help them fix certain weaknesses in their game. Backes was a perfect team leader, and hopefully we as Blues fans can appreciate his work ethic.

9. Vladimir Tarasenko

     Next we have one of the faces of St. Louis sports today in the Russian goal scorer Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko was drafted by the Blues in the 2010 NHL entry draft. The thing that has made Vladimir Tarasenko special is his scoring ability and it was so game changing for St. Louis at the time because until Tarasenko became a Blue. St. Louis hadn’t really had an established or main goal scorer for quite some time, Tarasenko was and has been that guy. Tarasenko is top five in franchise when it comes to goals, even strength goals, adjusted goals and game winning goals. He’s also seventh all-time in plus/minus with a career 75 +/- rating, 10th all-time in points, and top all-time in expected plus/minus rating at 52.9. All these stats prove Tarasenko is to be an elite offensive forward in Blues history and definitely has the potential to be higher on this list since he’s only 29 and has more good years left in him if he stays healthy following his shoulder surgery. 

8. Alex Pietrangelo

     Alex Pietrangelo was drafted by St. Louis as the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft and played 12 seasons with the St. Louis Blues. He helped lead the Blues to their first Stanley Cup championship back in the 2018-2019 season. Pietrangelo is the complete package as a defenseman, as he is great on offense and defense. He had 341 career assists with the Blues, which ranks him third all-time on the Blues’ career assists leaderboard while also being top ten in other categories like points, plus/minus rating, shots, adjusted assists and adjusted points just to name a few. Pietrangelo’s flexibility on the blueline is what made him a star in The Lou. That same flexibility will continue to serve him as he progresses through the rest of his career because without him, I doubt the Blues would win that cup.  

7. Pavol Demitra

     Similar to David Backes, Pavol Demitra did a bit of everything in his time with the St. Louis Blues, leading me to put him at number seven on this list. Pavol Demitra was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the ninth round of the 1993 NHL Entry draft but turned out to be a steal for the Blues when they traded for him back in 1996 for Christer Olsson. From there, Demitra played the best hockey of his career, playing in a Blues uniform for the next eight seasons. Demitra put up 204 goals and 289 assists as a Blue, both of which are top-10 in franchise history. Demitra, in franchise history, is also sixth all-time in points, fifth all-time in goals created, third all-time in plus/minus rating, etc. further proving how big of a game changer he was in a Blues uniform. It’s honestly disappointing he never got to touch Lord Stanley in his time in St. Louis because he sure deserved it.

6. Keith Tkachuk

     At number six we have one of the best goal scorers of the 1990s and early 2000s – Keith Tkachuk. Tkachuk was drafted 19th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in 1990 and probably played his best years in Winnipeg/Phoenix, as he had six 30+ goal seasons in the time he was there. Tkachuk, however, played nine seasons with the St. Louis Blues and put up great numbers in the offensive department. In franchise history, he is sixth all-time in goals, ninth all-time in goals created, and fourth all-time in power play goals just to name a few. Tkachuk’s offense helped lead the Blues to a few solid playoff runs, like their Western Conference Final run in 2000-2001—his first year on the team. Tkachuk finished his NHL career in the 500 career goal and 1,000 career point clubs, respectively, and that sheer success makes him one of the best to wear a St. Louis Blues uniform.

5. Chris Pronger

     When you think of the perfect defensive defenseman, you think Chris Pronger. Chris Pronger is coming in at number five, ladies and gents, and for good reason — he is a true legend. Pronger was drafted by the Hartford Whalers (now Carolina Hurricanes) in the 1993 NHL Entry draft and showed very quickly he was destined for stardom. Pronger would go on to be a 4x All Star, win the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP), win the James Norris Memorial Trophy (Top Defenseman), and become a Stanley Cup Champion (2007 with the Anaheim Ducks). Hartford clearly didn’t get the memo with Pronger when they shipped him to St. Louis in 1995 for Brendan Shanahan. Pronger played nine seasons in St. Louis and was arguably the NHL’s top defenseman during that time. In franchise history, Pronger is seventh all-time in assists and adjusted assists, he leads all-time in plus/minus rating, and is second all-time in defensive point shares. Pronger was a defensive mastermind with a little bit of offensive flavor and will go down as one of the best ever. 

4. Brian Sutter

     He may be an OG, but he’s still, in my opinion, one of the best to wear the blue note. Brian Sutter was drafted by St. Louis in 1976, making him literally a founding father of this franchise since he is one of the first players ever drafted to the Blues. Sutter was the definition of a goal scorer; in his time in The Lou, he had six 30+ goal seasons, which draws some similarities to Keith Tkachuk. Even though Tkachuk had a longer, more storied NHL career, I put Sutter at number four because his St. Louis career is obviously better. In franchise history, Sutter is third all-time in goals, points, goals created, and power play goals. Basically, if you look solely at the franchise offensive stats, you’ll definitely find Brian Sutter’s name on the board, and it’s very impressive since he only played twelve seasons in the NHL as he retired at only 31 years old. If Sutter had played longer, I honestly think he could’ve been higher on this list or become the greatest St. Louis Blue of all-time. 

3. Al MacInnis

     Now we have entered the top three and what a better way to kick it off with arguably one of the greatest defensemen of all-time in the great Al MacInnis. MacInnis was drafted by the Calgary Flames as the 15th overall pick in the 1981 NHL Entry draft. MacInnis finished his Hall of Fame career as a 7x All Star, a Norris Trophy winner, a Conn Smythe Trophy winner, and a Stanley Cup Champion (1989 with the Calgary Flames). Although his best years were in a Flames uniform, MacInnis still shined in the Lou as he donned the blue note for 10 years. MacInnis as a Blue is third all-time in defensive point shares, sixth all-time in offensive point shares and power play goals, and second all-time in plus/minus rating. Al MacInnis’s ability to be a force on offense and defense shows how good he truly was as a player, especially in St. Louis and he deserves to be recognized as one of the best to ever play the game.

2. Bernie Federko

     This wouldn’t be an all-time Blues list without good ol’ Bernie Federko. Most fans know him since he works with the great John Kelly and Darren Pang on Fox Sports Midwest every other Blues game, but Bernie is without a doubt one of the greatest Blues players ever. Similar to Sutter, Bernie is an OG; he was drafted by St. Louis as the seventh overall pick in the 1976 NHL draft. Federko remained in St. Louis for 13 years and made himself a part of St. Louis’s Mount Rushmore of sports legends. Federko put up seven 30+ goal seasons in a Blues uniform and, in franchise history, leads in assists, points, and adjusted assists. Federko loved playing in St. Louis and had that winning mentality as he played 927 total games as a member of this franchise which is mind boggling. Once St. Louis won the Cup back in early 2019, it was just a feel good moment to see Bernie finally raise that championship that he had worked his butt off for almost 14 years as a player. Federko’s loyalty to St. Louis led him to being an all-time great statistically and he will always be loved for being a Blues legend. 

         1. Brett Hull

     Unsurprisingly, we have one of the greatest goal scorers of all-time in Hall of Famer Brett Hull. Hull was drafted in the sixth round of the 1984 NHL Entry draft by the Calgary Flames, where he would only play two years before being traded to St. Louis (along with Steve Bozek) for Rob Ramage & Rick Wamsley. Hull played in a Blues uniform for 11 years and in eight of those eleven seasons scored 40+ goals, which is almost unheard of unless you think of Wayne Gretsky. Hull leads Blues franchise history in goals, goals created, even strength goals, power play goals, game winning goals, adjusted points, etc. I could go on and on. Hull is a generational talent when it comes to goal scoring and he was a true leader when he was a part of the Blues organization. Hull would go on to be a 3x All Star, a Hart Memorial Trophy winner, a Ted Lindsay Award winner, and a 2x Stanley Cup champion (1999 w/Dallas Stars & 2002 w/Detroit Red Wings). Hull has remained loyal to the Blues organization and to the city of St. Louis itself as he was partying just like any hardcore Blues fan when they won Lord Stanley back in 2019. Hull has without a doubt solidified himself as the Blues’ G.O.A.T.

(All statistics are courtesy of https://www.hockey-reference.com/

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