The mood round the St. Louis Blues is filled with cautious optimism. They may not have all of the pieces that will put them over the top, but they have a lot better pieces then they have had recently. They made a bold off season move to land G Jaroslav Halak. He is a very good, young prospect that is a key piece for this team to build around. I mean this kid is 25 years old and he was able to send Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby home from the playoffs last year.
Head Coach David Payne gets to take the interim tag off, and get a real chance to coach this club. He went 25-15-4 at the end of last year, and was able to get the Blues focused and fired up enough to at least win their home games. Even though Young Jaroslav has not played an entire NHL season between the pipes, splitting time with Carey Price in Montreal, Payne is going to ask him to step up and play 65 times or so.
This team’s breakout candidate is D Erik Johnson. He was their first draft pick in 2006, and missed 2008-09 following knee surgery. He returned last season and played solidly. He is going to have to play very large to help his newly acquired young goaltender.
Key additions- G Jaroslav Halak, C Vladimir Sobotka, D Nathan Oystrick, C TJ Hensick, and LW Stefan della Rovere
Key subtractions- G Chris Mason, D Nate Guenin, D Daryl Sydor, D David Rundblad, C Julian Talbot, LW Lars Eller, LW DJ King, LW Keith Tkachuk, and RW Ian Schultz