The St. Louis Blues picked up 5 players this year, and lost 4, including star forward David Perron (sent to Edmonton). The team is listed as the next Stanley Cup Champions, according to The Hockey News. The team who didn’t go far last year in the playoffs has 6-1 odds of winning the Cup. I agree that they have a shot, but how much will they be changed by the loss of Perron? These three players can change the game for the St. Louis Blues.
Let’s start off with captain David Backes. He only recorded 28 points (6G, 22A) in last seasons’ 48 games. The only other player to be above him in points was right wing Chris Stewart, who recorded 36 points in his full 48-game season. Backes is a strong leader, in my opinion. He went through a slump this year, and he will come back powerful. How can The Hockey News predict them winning the Stanley Cup if they don’t have a great leader? He’s going to bounce back, and I think he will be one of the top points leaders in this league. I expect him to be in the top 10 points scorers this year.
People might think I’m jumping the gun with this young star, but I think Vladimir Tarasenko will be great for the Blues this year. In 38 games last year, Tarasenko recorded just 8 goals and 11 assists. He obviously wasn’t the bread winner for the team last year, but his youthful speed is going to help him increase his points. During training camp, he’s going to learn how to match his skill with his speed, and he will start to shine about ¼ of the way through the season. He’s an explosive young player, and he will show it this season.
Call me childish, but one (minor) reason why I chose Kevin Shattenkirk for my third rising star was because of his last name. I even bought his t-shirt with my first paycheck from my newer job. I like the name and the way he plays defense. He owned 23 points last season, contributing only 5 goals and 18 assists. He hasn’t been the best with gaining points for the Blues. He has played three seasons here, and his highest point season was his second, where he only scored 43 points. This could be his year, though, and I see him being one of the top defensemen in front of Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak.
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