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EastonBlues22 01-10-2013 01:08 AM

Official Training Camp Discussion Thread
 
In an effort to consolidate some of the parallel discussions currently taking place, I'm creating a training camp super-thread. Feel free to discuss things like potential line combos, roster construction, player reports, scheduling, etc. here.

ExJbeck 01-10-2013 01:41 AM

I still think Schwartz is going to be the first call up. Hitch called him a "dependable" player. Last time I checked so is the rest of the roster. Somebody mentioned that it may be worse for his development to play with inferior players and while i understand that, I still don't think it will matter this early into his career. He can still gain valuable experience playing for the Rivs.

Other then waiting to see Petro on the ice I am most interested in these three things. Does Stewie bounce back? If so we will be so dangerous. How does the Tank perform at this level? Calder? and How does Steen play at center? I can't freaking wait for the 19th.

MattyMo35 01-10-2013 01:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AP27Blues (Post 57382879)
I still think Schwartz is going to be the first call up. Hitch called him a "dependable" player. Last time I checked so is the rest of the roster. Somebody mentioned that it may be worse for his development to play with inferior players and while i understand that, I still don't think it will matter this early into his career. He can still gain valuable experience playing for the Rivs.

Other then waiting to see Petro on the ice I am most interested in these three things. Does Stewie bounce back? If so we will be so dangerous. How does the Tank perform at this level? Calder? and How does Steen play at center? I can't freaking wait for the 19th.

For me, the things I'm most interested in are: How does Tarasenko perform? Stats are nice, but I'd rather see him play a complete game with a decent total(something around 20-25 points) than purely offense and 30 points. The next biggest concern for me is the play of Oshie. He got his "prove it" deal, and he definitely "proved it". I hope he builds off last season and is top 5 scoring for the team. Also, I'm extremely curious how Brian Elliott plays. Was last year a fluke? Has he begun to establish himself as a legitimate starting goaltender? Finally, how do the Blues perform now that they have a target on their back. It's easy to sneak up on people when you haven't really made noise in over a decade. The word is out that the Blues are one of the best teams in the West, and teams will be gunning for them. Will they win the Central again? Will they even make the playoffs? I think both are legitimate questions that I'm definitely ready to see the answer to.

JustOneB4IDie 01-10-2013 02:40 AM

Having Halak and 1 and Elliott 1A between the pipes should work to the Blues advantage in a Lockout shortend season, Unless Elliott falls of a cliff...

And what line Tarasenko plays on at the start of the season.

EastonBlues22 01-10-2013 04:00 AM

My continuum of player interest for camp (from the player of least interest to most):

Porter - He makes the team or he doesn't. I don't think it matters much either way.
Reaves - Not much mystery in this relationship.
Sobotka - Versatile, but known, quantity.
Nichol - Age the only question.
Russell - Ability/role increase seems unlikely.

Langenbrunner - Does he have enough left to move up the lines when needed?
Polak - Still anchoring the third pairing?
Backes - Consistent offense production?
Shattenkirk - Looking for signs of a step forward.

Oshie - Looking for an increase in offense production/consistency.
Pietrangelo - Elite enough to consistently carry his pairing?
D'Agostini - Can he carve out a defined role for himself?

McDonald - What line does he settle on?
Jackman - Enough positioning/anticipation/discipline to be a second pairing asset?

Halak - Will he be locked-in from the get-go?
Schwartz - NHL or AHL?

Perron - Does he finally distinguish himself as an offensive weapon?
Elliott - A good campaign would contribute a lot to the Blues securing a playoff berth.
Steen - Can he be the third line center the Blues need to roll three scoring lines?

Cole - Which way this domino falls affects so much moving forward.
Stewart - Could add an unmatched dimension to the Blues offense.
Berglund - The Blues need him to put it all together more than any other forward.
Tarasenko - Might alter the face of the franchise as soon as this year.

Celtic Note 01-10-2013 08:01 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by EastonBlues22 (Post 57384183)
My continuum of player interest for camp (from the player of least interest to most):

Porter - He makes the team or he doesn't. I don't think it matters much either way.
Reaves - Not much mystery in this relationship.
Sobotka - Versatile, but known, quantity.
Nichol - Age the only question.
Russell - Ability/role increase seems unlikely.

Langenbrunner - Does he have enough left to move up the lines when needed?
Polak - Still anchoring the third pairing?
Backes - Consistent offense production?
Shattenkirk - Looking for signs of a step forward.

Oshie - Looking for an increase in offense production/consistency.
Pietrangelo - Elite enough to consistently carry his pairing?
D'Agostini - Can he carve out a defined role for himself?

McDonald - What line does he settle on?
Jackman - Enough positioning/anticipation/discipline to be a second pairing asset?

Halak - Will he be locked-in from the get-go?
Schwartz - NHL or AHL?

Perron - Does he finally distinguish himself as an offensive weapon?
Elliott - A good campaign would contribute a lot to the Blues securing a playoff berth.
Steen - Can he be the third line center the Blues need to roll three scoring lines?

Cole - Which way this domino falls affects so much moving forward.
Stewart - Could add an unmatched dimension to the Blues offense.
Berglund - The Blues need him to put it all together more than any other forward.
Tarasenko - Might alter the face of the franchise as soon as this year.

"First off, I would like to award this weeks Rainbow Award to EastonBlues.
Easton has exhibited superb rainbowship in this post, showcasing elite talent in message boarding."


All joking aside Easton, I found your post interesting. We do have a number of questions surrounding this team and our players need to answer most of those questions with their play.

Celtic Note 01-10-2013 08:51 AM

My biggest questions relating to our success this year are:

Overarching Questions
  1. Can we stay healthy enough?
  2. Will our goalies be mentally ready given their collective 1 game of play over the lockout?
  3. Will our players who didn't play in a pro league throughout the lockout be in game shape soon enough?
  4. Can we learn how to overcome the hard forecheck that stopped us in place during the LA playoff series?
  5. Can we generate enough offence to take some of the load off the defensive side of our game?

Player Specific Questions
  1. Can Steen be an effective NHL center?
  2. Can McDonald stay healthy enough to contribute significantly over the course of the season?
  3. Will Russel be able to handle top pairing minutes with Petro?
  4. Will Cole be able to consistently give us sound defensive play, while staying out of the box and playing more of a steadying role? Hitchcock has already said that Cole is a cut above AHL level, but his consistency has to get better to be a good player at the NHL level.
  5. Can Backes avoid one of his slow starts? This is a concern given his lack of play over the lockout and his perceived frustration/tiredness due to the lockout. The lockout really seemed to take a toll on him mentally (per his interviews).
  6. Can Berglund step up his game, continuing his goal scoring success overseas?
  7. Will Stewart once again be an offensive threat? He didn't show as much as I would like statistically over in Germany.
  8. Will Shattenkirk be able to handle being the #2 guy on our D corp? He has played really well the last two years, but dips in player intensity and consistency do happen on the back end fairly often.

Rankings based on the legitimacy of the concern and its impact on the team.

PitchDoug 01-10-2013 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EastonBlues22 (Post 57384183)
My continuum of player interest for camp (from the player of least interest to most):

Porter - He makes the team or he doesn't. I don't think it matters much either way.
Reaves - Not much mystery in this relationship.
Sobotka - Versatile, but known, quantity.
Nichol - Age the only question.
Russell - Ability/role increase seems unlikely.

Langenbrunner - Does he have enough left to move up the lines when needed?
Polak - Still anchoring the third pairing?
Backes - Consistent offense production?
Shattenkirk - Looking for signs of a step forward.

Oshie - Looking for an increase in offense production/consistency.
Pietrangelo - Elite enough to consistently carry his pairing?
D'Agostini - Can he carve out a defined role for himself?

McDonald - What line does he settle on?
Jackman - Enough positioning/anticipation/discipline to be a second pairing asset?

Halak - Will he be locked-in from the get-go?
Schwartz - NHL or AHL?

Perron - Does he finally distinguish himself as an offensive weapon?
Elliott - A good campaign would contribute a lot to the Blues securing a playoff berth.
Steen - Can he be the third line center the Blues need to roll three scoring lines?

Cole - Which way this domino falls affects so much moving forward.
Stewart - Could add an unmatched dimension to the Blues offense.
Berglund - The Blues need him to put it all together more than any other forward.
Tarasenko - Might alter the face of the franchise as soon as this year.

Enjoyed the post. On Kris Russell I wanted to point out that he may be getting paired with Pietrangelo so he'd be in line for a role increase. Think we'd all love to see Pie get paired with an adequate to good partner and enjoy the results. I'll be very interested in whomever gets this job as it won't be the 1/2 LHD FA anymore.

Here are some quotes from http://www.stltoday.com/sports/hocke...35c3817ba.html :

The Blues’ plan is to try Russell, who following his trade here from Columbus last season had four goals and nine points and was a plus-13 in 43 games. He’s proved to be an adept puck-moving defenseman.

“Obviously Russ is a guy that could complement me pretty well,” Pietrangelo said. “We both move the puck. It definitely, I think, would work. We played with each other here and there. But you know, that’s up to the coaching staff.”

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock likes the possibility of using Russell, who had 196 points in 241 games with Medecine Hat of the Western Hockey League before being drafted in the third round by the Blue Jackets in 2005.

Novacain 01-10-2013 10:56 AM

I is blind.

Russell is better then any partner we had Petro with last year.

Chojin 01-10-2013 11:19 AM

Holy crap, Stewart dropped 25 pounds? That's nuts. Now I'm really interested in seeing how he does in training camp.

Novacain 01-10-2013 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chojin (Post 57393561)
Holy crap, Stewart dropped 25 pounds? That's nuts. Now I'm really interested in seeing how he does in training camp.

I went to the Mills yesterday to get a look at the boys: Stewart barely looked like the same guy. Lean and quick.

CarvinSigX 01-10-2013 11:45 AM

He was always quick. I hope the decrease in weight doesn't change his hitting and strength in front of the net. I'm sure he'll have that bull in a China shop feel until he wears down a bit.

STL fan in IA 01-10-2013 12:25 PM

I’m going to view things from a lines/pairings perspective.

Forwards

D’ags-Backes-Oshie


Can D’ags perform well enough to play with Backes and Oshie? If he can, the other 2 lines set up nicely. If not, Hitch may have to juggle lines to where it hurts other lines. How will all 3 perform since none of them played anywhere during the lockout? Can Backes get over his notorious slow starts? A slow start is half the season in a 48 game season. Can Oshie build on last season or is he already at his prime?

Perron-Bergy-Stewart

A potentially lethal line but also a potentially completely flop of a line. All 3 are very talented but can be streaky/unreliable at times. Defensive play could also be a concern for this line. If they’re all giving 100% and gain chemistry though, this could be a VERY good line as all 3 are very talented. This is the X-Factor line. How will Perron perform after having an extended off-season to fully recover from his concussion and get over his hesitancy? Will not playing during the lockout hurt him though? Bergy and Stewie played during the lockout and Stewie is apparently in the best shape of his life.

McDonald-Steen-Tarasenko

This line could easily end up being the top line in terms of goals scored IMO while the Backes line shuts down the opposition’s top line. Can McDonald stay healthy though? How will Steen perform at center? His most effective attributes on the defensive side of the game are really useful on the wing but he won’t be forechecking or working in the corners as much as a center now. Steen played center during the lockout in Sweden and Hitch said he did a good job of getting reacquainted to the position. Let’s hope that’s true. Tarasenko is the player I’m most excited to see. How quickly will he transition to the NHL? How will he handle defensive assignments against bigger, stronger, faster opponents?

Sobotka-Nichol-Langenbrunner

Sobotka is a little SOB. I love his game. He’s a very effective 4th liner who can move up and play on a higher line in the event of injuries as well. Good versatile player to have. He was a top scorer in the Czech league during the lockout so he should be good to go. I’m a little concerned how Nichol and Langenbrunner will perform out of the gate though given their ages. Neither played during the lockout and that’s notoriously hard for veterans to take that much time off, thus why I think we’ll see a lot of Reaves and Porter as well.

Extras: Reaves & Porter

I could see these guys, especially Reaves, get into quite a few games. If Nichol needs a rest, simply have Sobotka center the 4th line and insert one of these guys into the lineup. If Langenbrunner needs a break, then one of these two can simply be inserted into his spot. Neither played during the lockout but they’re both pretty young so they should be good to go. Porter is an absolute fitness freak though so I have no concerns about him.

1st call-up: Schwartz

I don’t see him making the team out of camp unless he either beats out Porter for the last forward spot (but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have him sit in the press-box so I think Porter gets that spot) or if there are injuries or I suppose a trade but I don’t see that happening, at least not right away. There are pretty much guaranteed to be injuries though, especially in such a condensed season with only a 1 week training camp so I think Schwartz will still play for the Blues at least half the season. It gets a little thin at forward after Schwartz though. I like Cracknell as a fill-in for a checking role and Andrew Murray can be a solid bottom-6 guy as well but I don't seem much after that - lots of career minor leaguers and disappointments in Peoria right now.

Defense

Russell-Petro


The biggest weakness of this team IMO is still Petro’s partner. It sounds like Hitch wants to try Russell with Petro first. I don’t really like this pairing but I like it slightly more than Cole-Petro. If the Blues were to get a legitimate partner for Petro, it would solve quite a bit for the team IMO. How to do that without creating holes elsewhere is the near impossible task though. With this pairing, hopefully Russell can be good enough defensively to let Petro do his thing.

Jackman-Polak

The defensive shut-down pairing. I think this pairing has only been so-so in the past and should be better defensively than it has been a lot of the time but they should be a good pairing and seem to work well on the PK together.

Cole-Shatty

These guys have been paired together since they were 16 years old (they played on the US U-17 and U-18 teams together as well as the U18 and U20 Jr teams). They have good chemistry together. Hopefully they can show consistency though.

7th d-man: Woywitka

I honestly never thought we’d see him again. He’s not a bad 7th option though. If the Blues were to add a d-man to pair with Petro, that would likely push Woywitka to Peoria though and give the Blues better defensive depth. They’re pretty thin after Woywitka with the next callups after him likely being Fairchild, Ford and Chorney. The Blues seem to go through a lot of d-men every season and I see no reason why they won’t this season as well, especially since injuries are even more likely in a condensed schedule, so the defensive depth concerns me a little.

Goalies

Halak
Elliott


The main concern here is how both will perform after not really playing at all during the lockout (Halak played 1 game in the 2nd division German league). The Blues will need them to be on their game from the get-go, no rust, for the team to succeed. Injuries are a big concern for goalies in a condensed season so it’s good to have two dependable guys. If both stay healthy, I'm going to guess we'll see a 60/40 Halak/Elliott split. Can Elliott prove last season wasn’t a fluke though? If he’s as good as his new mask, he should be excellent. ;) Can these guys repeat their success from last season? Will the defensive play of their teammates be as good as it was last season? All big questions for this exciting Blues squad.

Chojin 01-10-2013 12:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarvinSigX (Post 57394881)
He was always quick. I hope the decrease in weight doesn't change his hitting and strength in front of the net. I'm sure he'll have that bull in a China shop feel until he wears down a bit.

I don't think the guy went on a diet. He probably lost a lot of fat and gained some muscle. Stewy should still be effective.

Use the Schwartz* 01-10-2013 12:42 PM

Vlad is expected to arrive in Saint Lou tonight!!

bleedblue1223 01-10-2013 12:47 PM

Stewart is going to **** **** up this season.

Seriously though, if we get anything out of him close to what he was, we will be stupidly dangerous.

SirPaste 01-10-2013 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by STL fan in IA (Post 57396997)
I’m going to view things from a lines/pairings perspective.

Forwards

D’ags-Backes-Oshie


Can D’ags perform well enough to play with Backes and Oshie? If he can, the other 2 lines set up nicely. If not, Hitch may have to juggle lines to where it hurts other lines. How will all 3 perform since none of them played anywhere during the lockout? Can Backes get over his notorious slow starts? A slow start is half the season in a 48 game season. Can Oshie build on last season or is he already at his prime?

Perron-Bergy-Stewart

A potentially lethal line but also a potentially completely flop of a line. All 3 are very talented but can be streaky/unreliable at times. Defensive play could also be a concern for this line. If they’re all giving 100% and gain chemistry though, this could be a VERY good line as all 3 are very talented. This is the X-Factor line. How will Perron perform after having an extended off-season to fully recover from his concussion and get over his hesitancy? Will not playing during the lockout hurt him though? Bergy and Stewie played during the lockout and Stewie is apparently in the best shape of his life.

McDonald-Steen-Tarasenko

This line could easily end up being the top line in terms of goals scored IMO while the Backes line shuts down the opposition’s top line. Can McDonald stay healthy though? How will Steen perform at center? His most effective attributes on the defensive side of the game are really useful on the wing but he won’t be forechecking or working in the corners as much as a center now. Steen played center during the lockout in Sweden and Hitch said he did a good job of getting reacquainted to the position. Let’s hope that’s true. Tarasenko is the player I’m most excited to see. How quickly will he transition to the NHL? How will he handle defensive assignments against bigger, stronger, faster opponents?

Sobotka-Nichol-Langenbrunner

Sobotka is a little SOB. I love his game. He’s a very effective 4th liner who can move up and play on a higher line in the event of injuries as well. Good versatile player to have. He was a top scorer in the Czech league during the lockout so he should be good to go. I’m a little concerned how Nichol and Langenbrunner will perform out of the gate though given their ages. Neither played during the lockout and that’s notoriously hard for veterans to take that much time off, thus why I think we’ll see a lot of Reaves and Porter as well.

Extras: Reaves & Porter

I could see these guys, especially Reaves, get into quite a few games. If Nichol needs a rest, simply have Sobotka center the 4th line and insert one of these guys into the lineup. If Langenbrunner needs a break, then one of these two can simply be inserted into his spot. Neither played during the lockout but they’re both pretty young so they should be good to go. Porter is an absolute fitness freak though so I have no concerns about him.

1st call-up: Schwartz

I don’t see him making the team out of camp unless he either beats out Porter for the last forward spot (but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have him sit in the press-box so I think Porter gets that spot) or if there are injuries or I suppose a trade but I don’t see that happening, at least not right away. There are pretty much guaranteed to be injuries though, especially in such a condensed season with only a 1 week training camp so I think Schwartz will still play for the Blues at least half the season. It gets a little thin at forward after Schwartz though. I like Cracknell as a fill-in for a checking role and Andrew Murray can be a solid bottom-6 guy as well but I don't seem much after that - lots of career minor leaguers and disappointments in Peoria right now.

Defense

Russell-Petro


The biggest weakness of this team IMO is still Petro’s partner. It sounds like Hitch wants to try Russell with Petro first. I don’t really like this pairing but I like it slightly more than Cole-Petro. If the Blues were to get a legitimate partner for Petro, it would solve quite a bit for the team IMO. How to do that without creating holes elsewhere is the near impossible task though. With this pairing, hopefully Russell can be good enough defensively to let Petro do his thing.

Jackman-Polak

The defensive shut-down pairing. I think this pairing has only been so-so in the past and should be better defensively than it has been a lot of the time but they should be a good pairing and seem to work well on the PK together.

Cole-Shatty

These guys have been paired together since they were 16 years old (they played on the US U-17 and U-18 teams together as well as the U18 and U20 Jr teams). They have good chemistry together. Hopefully they can show consistency though.

7th d-man: Woywitka

I honestly never thought we’d see him again. He’s not a bad 7th option though. If the Blues were to add a d-man to pair with Petro, that would likely push Woywitka to Peoria though and give the Blues better defensive depth. They’re pretty thin after Woywitka with the next callups after him likely being Fairchild, Ford and Chorney. The Blues seem to go through a lot of d-men every season and I see no reason why they won’t this season as well, especially since injuries are even more likely in a condensed schedule, so the defensive depth concerns me a little.

Goalies

Halak
Elliott


The main concern here is how both will perform after not really playing at all during the lockout (Halak played 1 game in the 2nd division German league). The Blues will need them to be on their game from the get-go, no rust, for the team to succeed. Injuries are a big concern for goalies in a condensed season so it’s good to have two dependable guys. If both stay healthy, I'm going to guess we'll see a 60/40 Halak/Elliott split. Can Elliott prove last season wasn’t a fluke though? If he’s as good as his new mask, he should be excellent. ;) Can these guys repeat their success from last season? Will the defensive play of their teammates be as good as it was last season? All big questions for this exciting Blues squad.

Agree with most, just a couple notes, D'Agostini and Reaves were both playing during the lockout

PocketNines 01-10-2013 01:06 PM

Rainbows and comprehensive comments. One thing I'm looking forward to finding out is whether the PD will run that same photo of Pietrangelo in every story. The one where he looks like the screaming head from Pink Floyd's The Wall.

STL fan in IA 01-10-2013 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SirPaste (Post 57398339)
Agree with most, just a couple notes, D'Agostini and Reaves were both playing during the lockout

Good catch. I forgot D’ags went over to the 2nd German league late and then Reaves played a bit for the ECHL Solar Bears.

PocketNines 01-10-2013 01:29 PM

I don't think I like the idea of Russell with Pietrangelo. I guess that means we're looking at a Cole-Polak pairing as the 3d. Russell is underrated by some folks, and he was a bright spot in the playoffs last year, but if he's with Petro those are going to be some tough minutes and I'm concerned about his size.

And boy do I want to be wrong about Chris Stewart. I respect the fact he's worked so hard this offseason. Just remember, my critique was never that it was effort; it was that his goals came off the rush and while parked on the back post during PPs. Just don't see the him being in better shape leading to the Blues getting lots of 2-on-1s. They score off the cycle grinding defenses down. But maybe he'll earn more PP time where his numbers will go up.

Blanick 01-10-2013 01:34 PM

Went out to the informal skate today and got a couple of notes.

-Shattenkirk is in good shape, I am buying the theory that that was just a really bad pic of him

-McDonald was absolutely flying out there. Blowing past guys left and right.

-Porter had a lot of energy and was moving his legs well. He is definately gonna fight for a spot.

-On the flip side I though Reaves looked gassed at times and was IMO half-assing it during some drills.

-Stewart is noticeably lighter and quicker on his feet. He also made several really nice passes through the slot aswell.

Everybody else played about as well I as anyone would expect. Again this is just informal skates so wouldn't take too much away from this just some earlier observations.

Crumblin Erb Brooks 01-10-2013 01:55 PM

So the possible likely D pairings would be (assuming they go lefty righty on each pairing)

Cole-Petro
Jax-Shat
Russell-Polak

Russell-Petro
Cole-Shat
Jax-Polak

Russell-Petro
Jax-Shat
Cole-Polak

Jax-Petro
Cole-Shat
Russell-Polak

I assume they wouldnt put Russell and Shatty on the same pairing, 2 smallish guys.

I didnt like the idea of Petro-Russell when Hitch first talked about it, but the idea has grown on me, Russell is a solid guy. Still not sure he is a top pairing guy, but he can do some things very well. Still think I prefer Cole there, more athletic and aggressive. I also like Russell with Polak.

Dolph Ziggler 01-10-2013 02:03 PM

Hitch through JR said today that he's going with Perron-Backes-Oshie as well as McDonald-Steen-Tarasenko.

With those lines it would seem we are getting the following (based on recent reports from JR):

Perron-Backes-Oshie
D'Agostini-Berglund-Stewart
McDonald-Steen-Tarasenko
Sobotka-Nichol-Reaves/Langenbrunner

Russell-Pietrangelo
Jackman-Polak
Cole-Shattenkirk
Woywitka

Halak
Elliott

My thoughts on those line combos (if they are what we see)

Defense

Russell/Pietrangelo

I personally really like the idea of Russell-Pietrangelo playing together. Didn't understand why we didn't get to see that last year. I think he's easily the best of the options available. He's the best puck mover on the left side. These are going to be much tougher minutes for him but I certainly think he'll be at the very least an upgrade from Colaiacovo.

Jackman/Polak

This one scares me a bit. I'm not at all sure that I wouldn't rather see Jackman and Shattenkirk as I think the styles would mesh better. They've been an effective shutdown pairing in the past but I just worry about this one.

Cole/Polak

There has been plenty of talk about the Blues' need for a LH defenseman and that Cole isn't good enough (I admit to being one of them in the past). However, if Hitch and Army have seen enough from him, then that's all I need. There might not be a player I'm rooting for more than Ian Cole to prove he belongs and he can be an effective player.

Forwards

Perron-Backes-Oshie
I've seen most people say they believe Perron will lead the team in goals, but I could easily see Backes leading the team again as the finisher on this line with Perron and Oshie's playmaking abilities. I love the combination of Bashie and I'm good with putting Perron on the left side of that line. I think this is his breakout year.

D'Agostini-Berglund-Stewart
Chris Stewart's season I think will go a long way towards determining how serious a threat we are. If he returns to the 25 goal type player he's shown in the past, I really like our chances. Berglund and Stewart need to start putting it together for the Blues to take the next step. As far as D'Ags goes, I think he has the most underrated shot on the team and I'd like to see him shoot the puck more. This line could shine, but it could also feature the three most frustrating players on the team.

McDonald-Steen-Tarasenko

Third line has the most questions and the most intrigue by far. Can Andy Mac stay healthy? Can Steen play center effectively? And can Blues fans possibly have realistic expectations of Tarasenko? The player that I'm concerned most about ironically enough is Alex Steen. I'm not overly concerned about Tarasenko's ability to translate his game to the NHL and if he's healthy Andy Mac has been almost a PPG player. I wish we had an option that would keep Steen on the wing, but he's a solid player that I think will do alright. Tarasenko can't do much better as far as guys to learn from than Alex Steen. The consummate pro will do wonders for Vlad.

Sobotka-Nichol-Langenbrunner/Reaves
I question how much of Langenbrunner we will see. I just feel like it's going to be a situation similar to Lance Berkman with the Cardinals. Great guy to have on the team with the experience but on the ice is limited. I'm a huge fan of Ryan Reaves and I want to see him on the ice as much as possible. Sobotka will be a big part of this team as he can move up and down the lineup and fill in at center as well.

Goalies

Halak/Elliott

I think it would be unrealistic to expect a repeat of last season's numbers. The question is how far will they fall off? I don't expect too far. Halak hopefully gets off to a much quicker start. I expect he'll be solid with top 10 #'s again. The bigger question in my mind is can Brian Elliott be that effective again? It's no secret he hadn't had the smoothest of rides prior to St. Louis. I think both guys need the other and I think both will do well.

I currently am predicting the Blues as the top seed in the conference due to the fact that both the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks dealing with significant injuries to start the season (Anze Koptiar and Ryan Kesler respectively).

Here's hoping to another memorable season of Blues hockey. LET'S GO BLUES!

PocketNines 01-10-2013 02:12 PM

I really like "Bashie." The Bashie Line, which is Backes and Oshie together with whichever linemate, in this case likely Perron.

Dolph Ziggler 01-10-2013 02:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PocketNines (Post 57403047)
I really like "Bashie." The Bashie Line, which is Backes and Oshie together with whichever linemate, in this case likely Perron.

Yeah I don't know if anyone else says it but I thought it was a great play on the names that I use a lot with my friends lol.


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