Blues Have a Different Look Up Front

Vladimir Tarasenko trade rumors

Coming out of the lockout off 04-05, the Blues adopted the strategy of developing from within. With John Davidson at the helm, they picked David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund, and David Perron to one day form the core of the forward lines.

That day has been here in St. Louis for some time. Management stuck with those 4, watching them grow as NHLers and assume more of the scoring burden on the club. They’ve become fine professional hockey players. Backes assumed the captaincy following the retirement of Dallas Drake. Berglund, Oshie, and Perron progressed into regular roles on the top two scoring lines. Backes is tough, Oshie skates with a hard hat, and Perron has ridiculous talent with the puck. But none of them have developed into top tier stars. None of them are bona fide top-line talents. And unfortunately for the club, and for its loyal fanbase, they have frustrating bouts of inconsistency. Those bouts have translated to scoring woes for a Bluenote club, woes that have impacted their positioning in the playoffs the past two seasons. Those bouts have come during the most inconvenient of times, such as the playoff series against the Kings this past spring that saw the Blues ousted in the first round of the Dance.

So changes were made this offseason, and the young forward nucleus has lost one of its four. David Perron was sent to the Edmonton Oilers for Magnus Paajarvi and a pick. Though called by many a salary dump to make room for the Blues’ numerous RFAs, the move also served as a shakeup to the forward corps, and a notice to those who remain that their spots on the team aren’t secure.

The team also signed free agent centers Derek Roy and Maxim Lapierre to replace Andy McDonald and Scott Nichol. McDonald battled injury last year, as did Nichol. Roy should provide a playmaking upgrade to the top two lines. And Lapierre adds size and grit to the bottom six.

Look for the Blues to produce more consistently in 2013-2014. Roy should help set up 2nd-year wingers Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz. Paajarvi is expected to thrive in a new environment, especially since he’ll most likely start the season on a line with fellow Swede Patrik Berglund. They had some chemistry during the World Championships.

My thoughts? The Blues play strong out of the gate and position themselves for a top seeding next spring.

bluezos

I'm a big-time Blues fan, through all the ups and downs over the years that we have to endure. I work downtown for a marketing firm. I graduated in 2008 with a Sports Management degree, and I worked 2 seasons for a minor league baseball team. Eventually I'll get back into sports, but for now, I'll bring you Blues updates through the offseason.

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