Just because a team looks good on paper doesn’t mean they will look good on the ice. Just ask the St. Louis Blues. After the Blues went out and signed David Perron, Tyler Bozak, Pat Maroon and traded for Ryan O’Reilly, they are now 1-2-2 on the season. Even after the team brought in what they considered to be the missing pieces, they still can’t make it work. Why is that? There are several reasons, but the biggest one is the Blues defence.
Where is the St. Louis Blues Defence?
The Blues defense is doing a great job of making the entire team look like the old Blues. The biggest defensive issues are the amount of breakaways they have given up and the amount of rebounds they have failed to stop.
Individually, Alex Pietrangelo, who leads the team in average total ice time with 25:23. However, he has been on the ice for plenty of goals. He is not playing like his usual self. The Blues will need their captain to step up on defence if they even want to make the playoffs this year.
Granite, the Blues defence was missing Robert Bortuzzo for the first game of the season and Joel Edmundson for the first two games of the season. While the Blues defence seemed to get better when they both came back, breakaways and rebounds are still happening way too frequently. This is simply not acceptable for a team that wants to win in the Central Division, which is arguably the best division in the league.
When All Else Fails, Do Not Blame the Blues Goaltenders
The Blues have given up 20 goals in five games this season. While the Blues defence is mostly to blame for the amount of goals the Blues have given up this season, both goaltenders stats speak for themselves. Jake Allen has played four games, while backup goaltender Chad Johnson played one game. Allen gave up 17 goals on 139 shots, has a .878 save percentage and a 4.13 goals against average. Johnson gave up three goals on 31 shots, has a .903 goals against average and a 3.12 goals against average.
This is not about who is a better fit to be the starting goaltender for the Blues. This is about the Blues defence making both goaltenders look worse than they are. Both Allen and Johnson should have far better numbers than they do. They are stopping most of the initial shots, but when it comes to rebounds, they are getting absolutely no help from the defence. You can’t expect a goaltender to be perfect. The Blues defence is supposed to help pick up the slack, but that is not happening.
The Blues Offense
There are more than two lines for the St. Louis Blues, but you might not know that based on who has been scoring. Brayden Schenn leads the team in points with two goals and three assists for five points in five games. O’Reilly, Alex Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko are all tied with four points in five games.
It is frustrating because the third and fourth lines have had good scoring chances. Maroon alone has had 12 shots in the past five games. Jordan Kyrou has had nine shots, Sammy Blais has had six shots and Jordan Schmaltz has had five shots. If they keep having this many scoring chances, they are bound for success in the rest of the season. But right now, it seems like only two of the lines are pulling their weight offensively.
The Blues have 77 games left this season to turn it around. That is more than possible. Don’t give up hope yet. But, don’t start planning the parade on Market Street until the Blues can play better as a team.
BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 01: Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) moves away from St. Louis Blues defenceman Alex Pietrangelo (27) during a game between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues on February 1, 2018, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Blues 3-1. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)