It is hard to imagine that a team who makes the playoffs as consistently as the Blues have in the recent past would find themselves in trouble with the fan base, but that is certainly where Saint Louis finds itself squarely situated at the moment. Having lost in the first round for each of the past three seasons, the city is calling for major moves this offseason in order to shore up many perceived weaknesses that are preventing them from moving forward into a deeper postseason run.
Not all is bleak in St. Louis, as there are quite a few bright spots to note. Consider that Vladimir Tarasenko will be back. Last season he tallied 37 goals and 73 points, out of 77 games played. He was a bright spot in the playoffs as well, scoring six goals in a six game series loss to Minnesota. In addition, Alex Steen continues to improve, and looks poised to remain in a Blues uniform for the foreseeable future. Also worthy of note is Jaden Schwartz. Last season saw him continue to mature, scoring 28 goals on this way to racking up a total of 63 points. This exceeded most expectations, and if he can repeat that this coming season, then St. Louis will certainly be looking at locking up with a longer term deal.
All of that being said, this offseason is being spent dealing with some dark spots that have appeared on the roster over the last few seasons. Paul Stastny has been a disappointment after being signed as a free agent a year ago. In addition, David Backes and T.J. Oshie seemed to fade as the season wore on, resulting in a noticeable collapse during the playoffs. As a result, the team needs to look at adding a few more veterans to these positions that can help make the push in the playoffs, and they need to be more cautious in their free agent acquisitions this offseason.
Graphic via usatoday
There are holes at other positions as well. The blues have not really determined who they want their starting goaltender to be long term. Last season, Jaroslav Halak started 57 games, with Ty Conklin getting the nod for the other 25 games. In addition, Ben Bishop made enough appearances in relief to never really get anyone that comfortable in front of the net. They need to decide what direction they want to head and then develop that person into a consistent fixture that will provide consistency come the playoffs. All in all, the Blues are well positioned for a deep postseason run, but they have to find a way to lean more on their veteran players. They need a few of the younger players to continue to mature, and the consistency come April needs to return. If they can do this, the season will be full of hope in St. Louis.
Graphic via rantsports