St. Louis Blues Season Recap

St. Louis Blues Season Recap

by July 5, 2021 0 comments

Several years removed from raising the Stanley Cup, the St. Louis Blues still desire to possess it again. Despite obstacles put in their path, the Blues were able to make it into the playoffs for the 2020-21 season. However, their Stanley Cup dreams were crushed by the Colorado Avalanche in a four-game sweep. This season was filled with average performances, excluding a few players, and there will be a need for the organization to look in the mirror. Will they like what they see? Possibly not, but it needs to be done if they want to make it back and make the cup theirs again. 

Make sure to check out all of our other NHL Team Season Recaps.

By the Numbers

Record: 27-20-9
Power Play: 23.23% (6th)
Penalty Kill: 77.78% (25th)
Goals For: 169 (13th)
Goals Against: 170 (19th)

Best Player

The best player on the team would have to be awarded to both David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly. Each of them had a great season, and Perron led the team in points (58) with 19 goals and 29 assists. O’Reilly had 54 points overall with 24 goals and 30 assists and had a 58.8% faceoff win.

O’Reilly was named the captain of the team after Alex Pietrangelo left for the lights of Las Vegas. The shoes were difficult to fill, but he was able to step up and be the leader the team needed. He’s always been there when the team needed him, so there’s no question as to why he wears the letter on his jersey. In addition to his points and faceoff wins, he posted a career-high plus-25 rating. 

Perron finished with 58 points in 56 games, and he’s the first Blues player since Pavol Demitra to achieve a point per game output. He was tied for 13th in points with Artemi Panarin and Aleksander Barkov. Not bad for a 32-year-old veteran. Perron was critical to an offense that seemed to have difficulty in scoring this season. His presence was missed in the playoffs, which he missed due to a positive COVID-19 test. Would he have made a difference in the playoffs? Fans may never know.

Biggest Disappointment

It would be difficult to pinpoint the biggest disappointment out of all the ones the Blues suffered throughout the regular and postseason. However, going 0-4 in the playoffs would have to be both a disappointment and embarrassment. The playoffs exposed just how thin the defense was stretched, and the sidelining of a key player like Perron was felt to the core. The Blues would like to have that one back, but they were no match against the high-flying Avalanche. The team needs to evolve to be a little quicker in their decision-making and speed on the ice in order to keep up with teams like Colorado. 

Behind the Bench Analysis

Craig Berube has been criticized for how he coaches, but it’s not always fair to base those criticisms on how the team played. Yes, it was a disappointing season, but there were a few things in which the Blues were able to excel. Their power play was good at 23.23% and was sixth in the league. Berube gave chances to younger players, letting them find their way on the ice. He was able to get the Blues into the playoffs after it seemed all was lost. However, Berube does tend to have his offensive players try to find the perfect shot. Instead of a shoot-first mentality, time is wasted on the ice. More pucks on the net equate to more chances it might go in. The Blues are not the only ones guilty of this, but Berube seems to have made it the norm for the team.

Front Office Analysis

Doug Armstrong faced a lot of uncertainty this season, mainly due to the pandemic, but also, there were quite a few injured players this season. During the offseason, he hired former NHL coach Jim Montgomery to work on the powerplay. As a result, they were sixth in the league. Armstrong brought in Mike Hoffman and decided to stick with Ville Husso as the backup for Jordan Binnington. Despite the uncertainty surrounding those decisions, they were still the best ones to make for the team t the time. He’s been criticized for not doing much of anything at the trade deadline, sticking to what he had despite the poor performances and injuries. On paper, the team seems to be a well-put-together group of players, but when the going got tough, it seemed Armstrong didn’t do much to allay the fears of fans.

Everything that occurred before and during the season gives those looking at the front office a sense that they did okay, but it just wasn’t good enough. It would be up for debate just exactly where improvements could have been made. It’s just subjective. However, most might agree that more could have been done to improve the team.

2021 NHL Entry Draft Picks

The Blues will only have five overall picks in this year’s draft and have the 16th overall pick in Round 1. They might have had the opportunity for eight, but three picks were sent to other teams in trades. So Armstrong and the rest of the front office will need to come up with a plan to bring in players who will be able to fit in the style of play they currently have eventually. On the other hand, if Berube is not going to be the long-term coach, then the front office will need to look at players who have a great shot and have quickness and agility.

Offseason Wish/Checklist & Prognosis for 2021-2022

Tons of questions surround the offseason regarding the draft and free agency. Who will the Blues lose to the expansion draft and free agency? Who will they get at the draft? Can Armstrong do his job and find players to replace the ones that might be lost? All these and more won’t be answered until later this summer. If the front office is able to excel at their job, then it will make this past season worth the heartache. 

The Blues will have to work on their game planning, and Berube will need to get the team on board with his plan. Then he could do what good coaches do and play to the strengths of his players. The 2021-22 season might be a better year for the Blues with a healthy roster and everyone on the same page. The Blues can easily make the postseason again, they’ll just need to be ready for anything.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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