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01-10-2013, 02:03 PM
  #23
Falco Lombardi
AKA Dolph Ziggler
 
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Location: St. Louis, MO
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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!

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