Monday, August 25, 2014

2015 Pool Projections: St. Louis

The St. Louis Blues should pride themselves on the amount of balance that they have in their line-up, but some mistakes were made in the 2014 season, leading up to the playoffs, which hindered, instead of helped, the team move forward onto the next echelon.

This team, from a hockey pool standpoint, has some ridiculous players on the blueline, which make up for a lack of a bonafide top end scoring scoring forward (or two) and it keeps this team very competitive.  The real kicker in 2015 is how patient will they be with their goaltending tandem and at what point will management be ready to make a change, if one is necessary.

The management and coaching staff has said all the right things leading up to training camp opening, naming their goaltending tandem and giving them a vote of confidence, acquiring a bit more help on the blueline and adding some depth beyond the starters, which could ultimately help the team, in times of injury.

Sure, the Blues have some more work to be done, but for our purposes, this should be a fairly solid team to pick from in this year's hockey pool draft.

Forwards 14/15 Proj Cap Hit Defense 14/15 Proj Cap Hit Goaltenders 14/15 Proj Cap Hit
Paul Stastny 65 7.000 Alex Pietrangelo 60 6.500 Brian Elliott 85 2.500
Alex Steen 65 5.800 Kevin Shattenkirk 50 4.250 Jake Allen 40 0.800
David Backes 60 4.500 Jay Bouwmeester 35 5.400
T.J. Oshie 60 4.175 Jordan Leopold 25 2.250
Vladimir Tarasenko 55 0.900 Ian Cole 20 0.825
Patrik Berglund 40 3.700 Carl Gunnarsson 15 3.150
Steve Ott 20 2.600 Barret Jackman 10 3.167
Magnus Paajarvi 20 1.200
Maxim Lapierre 15 1.100
Ryan Reaves 5 1.125
TOTAL 61.642
Ty Rattie 35 0.773 Chris Butler 15 0.650
Dimitri Jaskin 20 0.773 Nate Prosser 5 0.700
Chris Porter 5 0.675 John McCarthy 5 0.600
Jeremy Welsh 5 0.550

First Round Picks

I think there is a real possibility that Brian Elliott can and will be a 1st round pick-type goalie in the hockey pool draft this year, assuming that the Blues don't run into the same kind of health issues that they did in the 2014 season.  The Blues don't have that top end scoring up front, so I wouldn't be looking for anyone this early among their forward corps, but there will be a lot of buzz around Alex Pietrangelo and other defensemen, so it could be a possibility at my hockey pool draft that he joins the ranks.

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

21 goals in the 2014 season has some excitement brewing around Russian forward Vladimir Tarasenko and I think it is for good reason.  The hands that Tarasenko showed in the regular season, not to mention the 4 goals in six playoff games, displayed a talent that is worthy of a 30-40 goal scorer and I think he can make serious leap towards those numbers this season.  Even if he is just a trigger man this season, his value will go up and the Blues could be much more dominant in the Central Division, which is saying something, given the competition around him.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

This season, I'm expecting a pretty balanced attack from the St. Louis Blues, especially with the addition of Paul Stastny to the group and despite the loss of Vladimir Sobotka to Europe.  Alex Steen turned a lot of heads last season and should be good to keep that push going, while David Backes and T.J. Oshie have the ability to stay relatively consistent around that 60-point mark.  The Blues were able to push for a top end playoff spot in the Central Division last season and I think their scoring will be good enough to be back in that race again.

Other Pool Worthy Defense

The real money makers in St. Louis will be coming from the blueline, as Alex Pietrangelo will continue to grow and emerge as an elite defender, tailed closely by teammate Kevin Shattenkirk, who has a keen sense of where to be on the ice, especially in offensive situations.  In a year where defensemen are going to rule the roost in the draft, these two will be high priorities for many.  If you can't snag either one of those two, Jay Bouwmeester or Jordan Leopold may not be bad options later on in the draft.

Goaltending Situation

Whoever takes the reins as the number one in St. Louis going to give out a bucket load of points this season.  The Blues were hard on Brian Elliott last season, despite having phenomenal numbers, so to make things right, they would be mad not to have him tipped as the number one, as Jake Allen gets a better taste of NHL action as the back-up.  The Blues gave Elliott a new deal and he could end up being quite the bargain, if the team pans out like they should.

Team To Pick From Late?

There will be quite a few Blues players taken in this year's draft, but I can see some of them still being available late in the draft and yes, I think they should be snapped up.  The balance of this offense will be the biggest factor in this, as they will spread the wealth around, which means there will likely be assists for everyone.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

Salary CapThe Blues are not done with their dealings in the off-season, as they still have to re-sign Jaden Schwartz to a new deal, as the restricted free agent is still looking for a new deal out of his entry-level contract.  Schwartz will be in line for a reasonable deal, but it looks like it is one of those relatively new battles between the team and their bridge deal offer, while the player wants to go long-term and get paid.  We shall see how this one pans out.

The Blues have some spots open and one is waiting for Schwartz, but with barely $7.4 million left to spend on four spots on the roster, that doesn't leave a great deal of room for Schwartz or the depth players otherwise.


Doesn't look like there are any issues with the health of the St. Louis Blues, heading into training camp.

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