After a seriously disappointing 2017-18 season, the St. Louis Blues knew that something had to change. After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010-11, they completely changed their philosophy. Instead of continuing to plan for the somewhat-distant future, the Blues began going into complete win-now mode. They made a series of offseason moves that seemed to guarantee them a spot come the postseason this year. However, the team still has yet to get going halfway through the season. Over the last few games, they finally have shown signs of life. Is it a sign of things to come, or simply a blip of success in the middle of the coldest seasons in franchise history.
The Blues really should be good. They completely revamped their offense by trading star-prospect Tage Thompson for star center Ryan O’Reilly, as well as singing free-agents Tyler Bozak and Pat Maroon. These moves, combined with a healthy Jaden Shwartz and star Vladimir Tarasenko, should have made the offense one of the most potent in the NHL. This has been far from the case, though. Tarasanko has been having one of his worst scoring seasons to date, while Bozak, Schwartz, and Bozak all have yet to really get things going. While they’ve all shown bursts of being what they were supposed to be, none have done it with any real consistency. Only O’Reilly, the Blues lone all-star this season.
While the Blues offense has struggled, other teams’ certainly have not when playing St. Louis. The Blues have struggled all year at preventing goals. Their star defensive players, Alex Petrangelo and Colton Parayko, have been having worse years than anybody expected on both ends of the ice. The real problem, though, has been Jake Allen. Allen has been having the worst season of his career, as both his GAA and save percentage are at the lowest he’s ever had. Although teams have been getting far too many shots up at the nett thanks to their defense, there is no question that the goaltending has been the biggest problem with the team.
Finally, though, the Blues are playing like they should have. They’ve won four of their last seven games, including wins over the Calgary Flames and Washington Capitols. Their last win was their most impressive, though, a 3-0 shutout in Philadelphia as Jordan Bennington had a shutout in his first career shot. The team played well the whole game, and did a far better job of getting up to the net and getting off clean shots than they have done any other game this season. Ryan O’Reilly has had a point in his last six, and the offense has finally looked like the one St. Louis paid for this offseason.
While this burst may not be proof that the Blues are finally going to play the way they should, it is at the very least a good sign. We know that they can play well, which gives St. Louis fans hope moving forward. This season has not offered a lot to be optimistic about, as the Blues spent a brief time at the bottom of the league and have yet to win more than two games in a row, so any silver lining is going to be a welcome sight among Blues fans. Even if they do surge back, they are so far out that it may not be enough to land a playoff spot. Even so, knowing that the team CAN play well would be huge, as it may keep them from tearing apart the team for scraps this offseason. Maybe this is just the Blues once again fooling St. Louis fans into having hope just to rip it from their hearts, as they’ve done so many times since their inauguration into the league. Maybe not, though. Maybe this is finally something to feel optimistic about. Probably not, but maybe.