It has been a little over 24 hours since the St. Louis Blues season ended with a 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The heartbreak has not gone away, not even some of it. Through the injuries, losing streaks and bad calls, this was a painful season to watch. This Blues team was too tired to even make the playoffs, yet alone a deep playoff run. I want to take an in-depth look at some of the Blues’ biggest problems this season and how they can be fixed for better seasons to come.
The St. Louis Blues Need Changes to Become Contenders
Changes in Goaltending
The Blues goaltending was the most controversial topic among Blues fans this season. It was Jake Allen vs. Carter Hutton with the occasional, “Is Ville Husso ready yet?” all season long. In 59 games played, Allen had a .906 save percentage and a 2.75 goals against average. In 32 games played, Hutton had a .931 save percentage and a 2.09 goals against average. Both goaltenders went through hot stretches where they stood on their heads and cold stretches where it seemed they couldn’t stop anything. It is hard to say if Hutton’s numbers would be comparable to Allen’s if he had played the same number of games as Allen.
If the Blues had to pick between the two, they should choose Allen. He has his rough patches, but his regular season highs and his playoff experience and success is enough to put him over the top. Not to mention, Hutton is 32 years old and doesn’t have as many years left in him as Allen. Husso seems promising. Having a healthy and confident Allen as the starter and Husso as the backup next year is the start to a better team.
Changes in Offense
It is hard to only blame the goaltenders when the offense struggled to score. I would argue that the offense was the biggest problem for the Blues this season. The Blues got shut out eight times and scored one goal in 11 games this season. They scored two goals in 18 games this season. In 37 games, the Blues scored two goals or less.
The top of line of Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz is the only line that deserves their spots. Guys like Alex Steen, Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund are making too much money to not contribute as much as they should. It would be ideal if the Blues replaced at least one of them with a higher goal scorer.
Changes in Defense
The Blues defensemen started out the season great offensively. During the course of the season, Alex Pietrangelo, Joel Edmundson, Robert Bortuzzo, Carl Gunnarsson and Jay Bouwmeester were all injured. Chris Butler played six games for the Blues due to injuries. There has got to be a better defensemen available than Butler. Playing the young kids like Mitch Reinke, Jordan Schmaltz and Vince Dunn has to be better than playing Butler.
Colton Parayko had 35 points this season, but was -7. He could have had 50+ points, but he did not look like himself. He looked afraid to shoot the puck this season. Overall, the defense was struggling from one thing or another all season long. You can’t avoid injuries, but when they aren’t injured, the defense has to be on their game if the Blues want to compete next season.
What’s Next for the Blues
This season was utterly disappointing. Everyone was responsible for the failure of the 2017-18 season. If the players, coach and general manager keep giving excuses, nothing is going to change. The only thing good about the off-season is that it is the season of change. Let’s hope that rings true for the Blues.
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