NHL Team Preview: St. Louis Blues
Coming off a Stanley Cup run in 2019, the St. Louis Blues are ready to go again in the 2021-22 season. The Blues have dominated the last two seasons in the playoffs, last year being swept by the Colorado Avalanche.
After spending a season in the West Division, the Blues have found their way back to the Central Division and are looking to make their fourth straight trip to the postseason but will need to bounce back after losing key players in the offseason.
The Blues could avoid trading Vladimir Tarasenko, and with a healthy season, Tarasenko could put up numbers like his past. He will be a key player at the wing position for the Blues this season.
The Blues season starts Saturday night in Colorado to take on the Avalanche, which swept them from the playoffs last year.
The Blues made a few additions to this year’s roster, most notably Brandon Saad to a five-year deal. In the 44-game season a year ago, Saad scored 24 points on 15 goals and nine assists. The hope is that Saad can fill the shoes of Jaden Schwartz, who signed with the Seattle Kraken this offseason.
The Blues also added Pavel Buchnevich via trade with the New York Rangers. The Blues gave away Sammy Blais and a draft pick, but the Blues expect Buchnevich to play quite a bit and contribute. Buchnevich scored an NHL career-high 48 points last season.
The most impactful subtraction was losing winger Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz played in 40 games last year for the Blues scoring 21 points on eight goals and 13 assists. Schwartz did not have his best year last season, but he was a mainstay in the Blues lines.
In the Stanley Cup run, Jaden Schwartz scored the game-winning goal with seconds to play in a key game in Winnipeg. That goal allowed the Blues to take the lead in the series and close it out at home days later.
Since moving to Seattle, Schwartz has been named an alternate captain for the Kraken.
Another impactful subtraction was losing a rising star in Vince Dunn to the Seattle Kraken. With the Kraken starting in the league this year, Dunn was picked up in the expansion draft. Dunn could not find enough ice time in St. Louis, but he will be a big help for the Kraken.
The key players to lead the Blues this season include Colton Paryako, who just signed an eight-year contract extension, captain Ryan O-Reilly, and most importantly, Jordan Binnington.
Jordan Binnington needs to bounce back after a rough year. Binnington was marked as a young phenom after his insane rookie run in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last season Binnington had a record of 18-14-8 with a 2.65 goals-against average. While his save percentage was still in the .900’s, his overall performance has dipped from years past. The Blues will be looking for a good year from Binnington.
The Blues are filled with young rising stars, most notably Klim Kostin. Kostin has only played six games in the NHL in four years since the Blues drafted him, but the quick 22-year old is ready for a breakthrough season. Kostin is listed as a forward on the opening night roster.
2021-22 Betting Odds and Lines
Point Total Over/Under: 93 Division Odds: +1600 Conference Odds: +2000 Stanley Cup Odds: +4100
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.