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St. Louis Blues 2023-24 NHL Season Preview

St. Louis Blues
(Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Blues 2023-24 NHL Season Preview

That 2019 Stanley Cup Trophy seems like it was a long time ago. The St. Louis Blues missed the playoffs last year but the core isn’t totally broken. After shuffling the deck, the Blues will look to get back into the postseason. Heading into the 2023-24 NHL Season, let’s preview the team!

Line Combination (Combinations Obtained via DailyFaceoff.com)

St. Louis Blues
(Daily Faceoff)
St. Louis Blues
(Daily Faceoff)

Not pictured are the two goalies Jordan Binnington and Joel Hofer. I actually have a lengthy write-up regarding the goalie situation in St. Louis. Are we sure Hofer can’t steal the job here? The days of Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko are done too. This blue line more than anything has taken a major step back. They’re much smaller back there and it hasn’t been the same since Alex Pietrangelo left.

New Faces

Not a ton of changes here. Kevin Hayes will now be the third line center after being traded to the Blues. You can do worse than Hayes on the third line. He was also playing on the first line last year in Philly. To have Robert Thomas, Brayden Schenn, and Hayes down the middle is very respectable.

Three Players To Watch

  • Robert Thomas

I have Robert Thomas in fantasy this year. Got him at pick 168. That should be a steal… if he shoots the puck more. Don’t listen to the shooting percentage numbers. Thomas is a great playmaker but he needs to be more aggressive scoring the puck. 38 goals over the last two years? Thomas can do better than that. It’s a matter of if he can do it. Heading into age 24, it’s time to take that next step. Be more than just a playmaker. Score the puck too.

  • Jordan Kyrou

Talk about another guy that needs to take that next step. Kyrou can score and has plenty of skill but provides nothing in the block and hit categories. Can he become a more physical player? If not, can Kyrou hit that 40 goal mark? His ceiling is only so until we see otherwise. Heading into age 25, now is the time to hit your stride. Kyrou has all the makings to be a 90 point guy.

  • Jakub Vrana

Speaking of fantasy, Vrana has a chance to be a serious steal. His goal per 60 rate is banana land in a good way. Even during a brief stint with St. Louis last year, Vrana pocked 10 goals in 20 games. Just needs to stay out of the player assistance program this year. Super fast and so talented. If the Blues want to get back in the dance, it starts here.

Biggest Riser

Jake Neighbours hasn’t proven anything yet but he’s the best answer to this question. If the Blues are going to get a surprise contributor to boost the group, it’s Neighbours. The Blues first round pick in 2020 will start the year on the 4th line but don’t be surprised if he works his way up the latter. He’s not untalented.

Biggest Faller

Jordan Binnington has gotten worse every single year since winning the Cup. It’s actually not disputable. His SV% has decreased in every year since. A few years ago we wondered if the bubble burst. It’s more than burst. He’s about to walk the plank if things don’t turn around this year.

The Biggest Question Is…

I guess this isn’t really a question but I want to know how this gets out of the middle. They feel like the Marvin Lewis of the NHL. Pick a lane Blues! Do you want to contend or is it time to start over? Based on how this year goes, the Blues need to pick a lane. Just a matter of which direction.

Verdict

I have the Blues back in the playoffs but barely. They will be battling with teams like Minnesota and Winnipeg for the last spot in the central. If Kyrou and Thomas progress, it should be enough to get them back in. Far from a perfect team but playoffs are realistic here.

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