Dom Lunardo | September 9th, 2019
And you really don’t remember, was it something that he said? Are the voices in your head calling Gloria?” Gloria, a hit song by Laura Branigan, became the staple tune for the St. Louis Blues and their fans during their remarkable run to the 2018/19 Stanley Cup Championship last June. For a team that looked absolutely dead in the water at the start of the calendar year, Head Coach Craig Berube and his wonderful staff, coupled with the trust, belief, and backing from General Manager Doug Armstrong turned a lackluster, underperforming team into one of the best sports stories in recent memory. And let’s not forget the emergence of goaltender Jordan Binnington and the rest of the Blues roster who were each instrumental during their unbelievable stretch run. What can the Blues produce as an encore heading into the new campaign which is set to kick off in just under four weeks time?
January 1, 2019. Happy New Year …except if you’re a fan of the Blues. It didn’t seem possible, but at the start of the calendar year, the St. Louis Blues found themselves in 31st (dead last) place in the NHL. Less than 2 months earlier it was Mike Yeo OUT and Craig Berube IN as bench boss for a team that was in desperate need of a change. In addition, goaltender Jordan Binnington was called up in late December 2018 after the abysmal play from starter Jake Allen. After going 3-0-0 in his first three games, Binnington took the reigns as the “keeper of the crease” for the duration of the season. After that, the Blues just never looked back. Playoff series victories against the Jets, Stars, Sharks, and Bruins earned the franchise their first Stanley Cup victory. A season for the ages without a shadow of a doubt. The change behind the bench and call up of Jordan Binnington were the two largest factors in the Blues’ turnaround at the start of 2019.
Notable Off-Season Additions: Derrick Pouliot
Breakout Candidates: F Robert Thomas
Team Summary: Any quick Google/internet search will tell you that this Blues team is quite the talented bunch from top to bottom, to say the least. Names like O’Reilly, B. Schenn, Pietrangelo, Parayko, Bouwmeester, Thomas, Schwartz, and Tarasenko are just the tip of the iceberg regarding the skill level on the active roster. Heading into the 19/20 campaign, the Blues, as current titleholders, will have vast weaponry in defense of their Stanley Cup championship. They’re going to need it in a much improved Central division. The team from the Midwest is going to have a target on their back right from the get-go but should be all systems go following a shortened summer with Lord Stanley.
Prediction: After catching lightning in a bottle, the St. Louis Blues are poised for yet another good season in a very competitive Central division. A repeat as Cup champs would be a huge stretch, to say the least, but if goaltender Jordan Binnington continues his strong play, the sky really is the limit for a talented and hungry Blues team. Hockey fans in the Midwest will have some added jump to go with bragging rights as the season is set to kick off in four weeks time.
Check out our other 2019-2020 NHL Team Previews:
Colorado Avalanche|Florida Panthers|Dallas Stars|Arizona Coyotes|New Jersey Devils|San Jose Sharks|Buffalo Sabres|Los Angeles Kings|Vancouver Canucks|Winnipeg Jets|Carolina Hurricanes|Boston Bruins|Ottawa Senators|New York Islanders|Minnesota Wild|Vegas Golden Knights|Detroit Red Wings|Pittsburgh Penguins|Chicago Blackhawks | Toronto Maple Leafs | Philadelphia Flyers
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images