For the purpose of this article, I will be comparing the arrivals and departures from our roster. This isn't to mean that the player coming in will take the departing players exact role. I will compare most players as a group, rather than as a player vs player comparison. The exception to this rule will be players who are obviously and easily comparable. Such as Ryan Miller and Jake Allen. This will be a reoccurring article throughout the season. Every month I will look at how these formerBlues are playing and compare it to how our new Blues are performing. By the end of the season we should see whether or not we made the right moves.
Let's start with our departures from last season:
Ryan Miller - G Miller never lived up to the brick wall that Blues fans had hoped he would be. Since changing his scenery for the second time, he has posted a perfect 3-0-0 record. He is also pitching a very impressive .927 sav% and a meager 1.95 GAA. This should be a reoccurring theme this season. Miller was the most talented player we lost this season.
Vladdy Sobotka - C At this time the KHL has no posted stats for Sobe.
Brenden Morrow - W Morrow has participated in 6 games for Tampa Bay. He has registered a single assist with an average ice time of just over 10 minutes.
Derek Roy - C Roy has suited up in 5 games this season for smashville. He has registered 3 points, all assists. Roy is averaging 16 minutes of ice time, and has registered a +/- of +1.
Carlo Colaiacovo - D Carlo isn't currently playing professional hockey.
Roman Polak -D Polak has been seeing some major ice time in Toronto. He is averaging over 20 minutes of ice time. He has yet to register a point and has a +/- of -2. Polak's presence is felt more on the ice than it is seen on the stats sheet. Polak was known as one of St. Louis' best penalty killers. Since acquiring Polak, Toronto is killing off 86.4% of its penalties. In case you are curious, without Roman, the Blues are only killing off 80%.
I think it's fair to call this a mixed bag. Miller will have a strong season, but his loss can be mitigated by a good showing by Jake Allen. The biggest loss thus far is Roman Polak. The Blues were 2nd in the league last season on the PK while Toronto was in the basement at 28th. The season is young, but Toronto has bumped itself up to 14th in the PK. The Blues, on the other hand, have fallen to 19th.
Now let's look at the new faces.
Jake Allen - G Allen looked very good in his debut. He is considered the 1B goaltender in St. Louis. He has only taken the ice once this season, but in the game he posted a .960 sav% and 1GAA. I think by midseason Allen will have cemented himself as the Blues 1A goaltender. His swift development will make it all the easier for fans to forget Ryan Miller ever wore the note.
Paul Stastny - C Stastny is currently injured. His impact will be nil until he is able to get onto the ice. In the 4 games he suited up in, he made some noticeable impact. He has 1 goal and 3 assists already this season. 2 of his 3 assists have come on the powerplay. The Blues, as you recall, sucked hind-tit on the PP last season in the playoffs. This season the note is ranked 3rd, scoring on 30% of their man advantages.
Jori Lehtera - C Lehtrea missed the Blues' last game with the flu, but word is he will return vs the Canucks. I personally believe Lehtera is going to make a major impact this season. In 4 games he has 1 goal and 2 assists. His single goal came on the PP this season. Lehtera isn't a shoot first center. He has already shown a knack for getting the puck to his teammates at the perfect time to set them up for great scoring chances. When he does sling the rubber towards the net he has seen some success. He has only taken 4 shots, but 1 of those has gone in, giving him a 25% shooting percentage.
Joakim Lindstrom - C Lindstrom is adjusting well to the NHL. In 5 games he has registered 1 goal, but has passed the eye test. I believe his goals will begin to come far more frequently once he settles in.
Carl Gunnarsson -D Carl has yet to make his debut. He was recently cleared to play after returning from a hip injury.
Thus far, it looks like the newcomers are taking an early lead on the departures. The lead is small, but noticeable. We will revisit this again on the next volume of The Replacements.