The St. Louis Blues Need Changes to Become Contenders

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Carter Hutton
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: Carter Hutton #40 of the St. Louis Blues spits water during a break against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on April 6, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blues defeated the Blackhawks 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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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3 COMMENTS

  1. “If the Blues had to pick between the two, they should choose Allen.

    Having a healthy and confident Allen as the starter and Husso as the backup next year is the start to a better team.”

    Is where I stopped reading.
    Seriously?! Did you watch more than 50% of the games start to finish or just catch the highlights on the news?

    How the heck are you going to tell people a confident Jake Allen is their best option? There is no way we can even afford to keep carter Hutton with the bidding war that will surely take place to sign him.
    If i can remember correctly the best current goaltenders in the league are in the 35 + age group (Nashville, New York Rangers, Vegas, etc. Having a good year at age 32 really is a mute point to bring up. The problem while not 100% is Allen!! You can sugar coat it all you want, blame the weather, blame equipment, blame the reffs, the real problem at it’s core the team does not have confidence with him in the net. When you have to score three to four goals to stay in most of his starts, even at scoring 3 or 4 goals the offense is still getting blamed for not producing enough.

    Another big krux for us was our veteran players RETURNING to the line up after being hurt. Jay Bouwmeester is a prime example of repeated return disaster on the ice.

    • I agree with the author. Allen is under contract for 2 more years and Hutton is a UFA so Jake is the more viable choice for Army at this point. Barring some kind of trade (not impossible), Allen will be the primary goalie next year. He obviously has the ability and the team’s confidence in him will rise and fall with his (and their) contemporaneous performance. The J-Bo bashing is unjustified and seems to be the favorite pastime of a certain segment of Blues fans for some reason. The dude is tough as nails, played 35 games with a bad hip that would have placed most guys on IR for the season and still ended up a plus-5. We need more players with the grit and toughness of J-Bo in my book.

  2. “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.”

    While i don’t disagree with most of this statement I think saying Jordan Schmaltz is better than Butler is like saying Sammy Blais deserved to play as many games as he did….. They both had nothing note worthy about their time on the ice this season. Well unless you want to talk about Schmaltz uncanny ability to turn the puck over in our d zone. Sammy managed to get injured the same way twice this year while in the nhl, gotta keep that head up.

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