Katelyn Chostner, Editor-in-Chief
Last year was the first year since 2011 that the Blues missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs. To offset the disappointing last season, the St. Louis Blues recently had one of their better offseasons this year. General manager Doug Armstrong turned the team around by dumping bad contracts and two underachieving players.
Armstrong traded centre Patrik Berglund, left-wing and centre Vladimir Sobotka and prospect Tage Thompson for centre Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres. The Blues also signed free agents David Perron and Tyler Bozak.
Another free agent the Blues added this year was St. Louis native Patrick Maroon. Maroon signed a $1.75 million contract giving the city a hometown discount. He graduated from Oakville High School and has since played for the Philadelphia Fliers, Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers.
All together the Blues have six new players on their team. They came into this season with higher expectations because of the strategic additions made prior. During the preseason, the Blues won four of their seven games. Fans were able to look at new additions to the team and see how well the players worked together on the ice. The prospects were the biggest part of the Blues’ preseason.
Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas and Samuel “Sammy” Blais played well enough to make the Home Opener roster. Thomas was more expected to make the team, but Kyrou surprised everyone with his excellent plays. For Kyrou and Thomas, this was their first National Hockey League game. During the Home Opener warmups, the Blues let the two prospects skate by themselves for a few minutes to honor their first game in the NHL.
The Blues played the Winnipeg Jets Oct. 5 for their Home Opener and their first game of the season. Expectations were high after the Blues’ successful off and preseason. One of the most talked about questions of the preseason was if the Blues’ starting goaltender Jake Allen was going to do well or not. The last few years he has split the starting duties with goaltenders Brian Elliot and Carter Hutton. Allen has played poorly halfway through each past season and this is his time to prove himself as a starting goaltender.
Allen played well for the first two periods of the Opener, but the same can’t be said for the rest of the Blues. The team did not make good passes and had trouble making it out of the defensive zone. Although the Blues took 41 shots, they were not quality shots. The power play was 0-4 and was just as stagnant as it was last year.
During the last period of the game four goals were given up by Allen. After the Jets scored fans offered Allen the Bronx Jeer every time he made a routine save. Even though Allen played a large part in allowing the Jets’ goals, the whole team was to blame. Toward the end of the last period, the Blues scored their first and only goal of the game. Fans were able to at least hear the new goal song play once during the disappointing Home Opener.
This was the first game out of 82, the Blues still have time to figure out their rhythm. Hopefully this season they will find their way back into the playoffs. On paper, this team could be one of the best teams in the central division, but they just have to find a way to prove it on the ice.