Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
The Blues are essentially the same team as they were at the end of last season, which is excellent for regular season success -- but will they be able to make that extra step in the playoffs?
I think that we can all agree that the Blues' performance last season surpassed our expectations. Central Division Champions? Sweeping the Sharks out of the first round of the playoffs? Winning the Jennings Trophy? I'm still more than a little gobsmacked and more than a lot proud. Sure, the season didn't end the way that we would have liked for it to have, but it also ended in a way that primed the team for success this year.
The lockout's delayed that success, unfortunately. It's made the team and fans antsy for this season to finally get started, and I'm sure that'll be a huge motivator for the guys to come storming out of the gate (that, and a shortened 48 game season helps with that too). Luckily they didn't make any huge free agent acquisitions this summer, because any new guys won't have a huge long camp to get acclimated. Nope, it's the teams that can pick up where they left off that have the advantages, and the Blues are the picture-perfect example of that.
Who's gone from the team? Kent Huskins and Jason Arnott went un-signed and are currently still floating around in the free agent market. Carlo Colaiacovo was also unsigned by the team, and was snapped up (eventually) by the Detroit Red Wings as a hole-filler for the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom. I'm not discounting the importance of any of these guys (maybe Huskins), but they're easily replaceable and the loss of Arnott and Colaiacovo will be easily filled from within the organization.
Hey, do you remember the time that the Blues traded Chris Pronger to Edmonton for Eric Brewer and some spare parts? One of the spare parts came back. Jeff Woywitka will more than likely be the Blues' seventh defenseman, while Taylor Chorney (a brief acquisition from Edmonton last year who the Oilers re-claimed off of waivers) is the team's go-to call-up guy.