In just the sheer size of players that they have added, they will be a tough roster for other teams to skate through, adding the likes of Ryan O'Reilly down the middle and Patrick Maroon on the wing.
However, when teams do make a lot of moves, adding and subtracting from last year's roster, it does open the door for a few more questions, rather than answers. There are no guarantees that these new faces will necessarily match up well with the existing talent that is on the team and there will be a period of adjustment for everyone (training camp hopefully being all that they need).
There will be a certain level of excitement though, when it comes to all of these changes. The superstars on the team should be excited to see that management is working hard to make their team better, getting the players to help them compete harder, and the fans should be excited to see their team do well in this off-season.
The Central Division remains a difficult one to work through and missing the playoffs in 2018 is really going to put a chip on their shoulder. This team could be a fun one to watch, especially early on.
Table last updated on August 12th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
The Buffalo Sabres were shopping the big contract of centre Ryan O'Reilly and they were fortunate enough to have the Blues come calling looking for a big contract pivot in this off-season and this makes him a very intriguing player for the 2019 season.
The Blues really hit the jackpot with an off-season deal last summer for Brayden Schenn and now they are hoping for much more of the same with O'Reilly and I don't see any reason why they couldn't get that sort of return here. The 27-year old is a versatile centre, who can move the puck pretty well, finish and play a solid two-way game, so I think his upside in St. Louis could be quite good.
First Round Picks
The Blues certainly have some potential for 1st round picks on their roster, but the chips didn't fall for them that way, when it came to my projections. I did oversell the Blues once before in the last couple season and that didn't go so well for my picks, so I might be a little more cautious with this team, moving forward. I'm sure someone at the draft will likely pick a player from St. Louis early.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
This team had a pretty impressive group of forwards at the start of the summer, but they were also very busy, making moves and shifting players around, signing new faces from the free agent market and now it's not quite the same team, but there are still some familiar names on this list. Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn, David Perron, Alexander Steen, Tyler Bozak, Patrick Maroon and Robby Fabbri are all on my list of potential pool worthy forwards and that is an impressive looking group. It is one of the older forward groups in the league, but that's a lot of experience to draw from.
Other Pool Worthy Defensemen
The back end doesn't have nearly as many pool worthy names, but that isn't to say that they still won't get points here and there. Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko are the two offensive pillars, who will likely see the bulk of the power play time for the Blues, so they'll be eating up lots of minutes for them too.
Jake Allen will have a new partner in the goalie crease this season, veteran keeper Chad Johnson. Allen is expected to get the bulk of the work and he'll post a pretty big number, possibly even worthy of a 1st round selection, but just as importantly, Johnson will get those extra days on back-to-backs or the odd afternoon start and he should post good enough numbers for a late round backup spot.
Team to Pick From Late?
There are some depth options on this team and the better ones might come from the blueline, where a guy like Vince Dunn, who was pool worthy last season, could put up a repeat performance, under the radar, and surprise a few here and there. Otherwise, the Blues will be a popular team and those guys will be snapped up early and often at the draft.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
The Blues do have one non-pool defenseman still unsigned this summer, 24-year old Jordan Schmaltz, but he doesn't really fit into the picture, even with a new deal. I do have the Blues in with a 23-man roster and only $1.1 million in cap space remaining. Schmaltz would likely get a two-way contract, when signed, so he would start in the minors and not count against, so it's a bit of a moot point.
He isn't much of a hockey pool threat, but defenseman Carl Gunnarsson is a question mark to start the season, as his 2018 season was prematurely ended by a torn ACL in April. The timetable for his return was six months at the time, which would put him into the start of the season, but depending on his rehab, we'll see how far along he is at camp.