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Becoming an NHL team in the 1967 expansion, the St. Louis Blues quickly blossomed into a playoff contender. Though the postseason format benefited them greatly, the Blues maintained an edge to their game which brought them to the Stanley Cup Finals in their first three seasons. However, despite playing in three Finals series, the Blues walked away without a single win. They were swept each year.
Consisting of mostly aging veterans, the team found strength in their goaltending and defense. However, off-ice business decisions along with a divisional realignment led to a drop from the annual trip to the finals. Ownership and financial issues continued to plague the team into the mid-1980s, leaving the team unable to capitalize on their continuous playoff berths. The St. Louis trade for Brett Hull put into motion a chain of events that brought the team back from the brink of financial collapse and made them into a perennial competitor.
Led by the strong play of Brett Hull, the Blues soon were able to land other great players in Adam Oates, Al MacInnis, Brendan Shanahan, and “Cujo” Curtis Joseph. However, the decisions by coaching and management staff broke up the chemistry of the team and they were never able to make it to the finals, despite being the only team to make the playoffs every year of the 1990s.
A revival at the beginning of the new millennium kept the momentum going, with players like Chris Pronger, Keith Tkachuk, and Pavol Demitra joining the fold. Together they trudged on before, ultimately, dropping from the playoff picture for the first time in 25 years in 2006. The Blues would make the playoffs only once in the next six seasons.
Since 2011, however, there has been a resurgence for this Missouri-based team. St. Louis had made the playoffs every year between 2011 and 2017, even reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2016. Last season broke the streak as the Blues did not qualify for the postseason tournament. Continuing to search for their first championship, today’s St. Louis Blues squad is captained by longtime defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Alternates for the team are Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko. The points leader for last season in St. Louis was Brayden Schenn. After being traded to the Blues from the Philadelphia Flyers, Schenn put up 70 points, the most of his career. He is hoping to lead this team to new heights.
Aside from Pietrangelo, the defense is anchored by Jay Bouwmeester, who took on this leadership role after Kevin Shattenkirk departed for the New York Rangers last season. Management has locked up Colton Parayko to a five year deal which will keep the back end secure. Netminder Jake Allen put together a strong season last year and is working towards doing it again between the pipes for St. Louis.
An offseason trade with Buffalo put Ryan O’Reilly in St. Louis. His combination of size and strength, coupled with his ability to score will come in handy for this team going forward. He is having a monster first season in St. Louis. David Perron signed back with the team in the offseason for a four year contract worth $16 million and is also making a huge impact. Tyler Bozak signed his name on the dotted line for the Blues. The veteran has spent nine seasons in Toronto, but is now locked up in St. Louis to the tune of three years $15 million.
NHL veteran player turned coach Craig Berube heads this team behind the bench on an interim basis with a lot of optimism. While there is a lot of work to be done if he wants to win the ultimate prize, the bones are in place and the core group that makes up this team has a championship mindset. The trick now will be to navigate through the tumultuous NHL season while picking up a few additional key players that could make all the difference at the end of the year.
Some of the greatest Blues ever to wear the uniform for this club include Brett Hull, Al MacInnis, Grant Fuhr, Bernie Federko, Vladimir Tarasenko, Chris Pronger, Adam Oates, Curtis Joseph, and Keith Tkachuk. Additional information pertaining to the history of this franchise, as well as the current St. Louis Blues organization can be found by clicking here.