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Youthful Optimism

A reason for optimism during the long off season.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

This is the doldrums for sports, unless you happen to be a baseball fan. As much as I try, I am not. There is no football, and worst of all, no hockey. The Blues are an old franchise, but we have never won the cup. We have put together some great teams, but we ultimately have always fallen short. There is nothing I want more than a parade in downtown St. Louis. If there is something I will settle for, it is a long run of competitive to dominating Blues hockey. If we fail to win the cup, I will be sad. If we are consistently competing for the top spot in the central, and always a team no one wants to draw in the playoffs, I'll survive.

So what has me optimistic? We all know we have a powerful top line. The combination of Backes, Steen, and Oshie will be good for at least the next few seasons. Eventually, they will age, and our top line won't be Selke quality. So then why do I have a good feeling? The answer is simple: youthful progression.

In the 2012-2013 season, Vladimir Tarasenko scored 19 points in 38 games. That averages out to 0.5 points per game. Of his 19 points, only 8 were goals. That means he scored 0.21 goals per game. Let's fast forward to this past season. In 64 games, Tarasenko scored 21 goals and 43 points. That's 0.67 points per game and 0.33 goals per game.

In the 2012-2013 season, Jaden Schwartz scored just 13 points in 45 games. That tallies to a very small 0.29 points per game and 0.16 goals per game. Let's fast forward again to this past season. In 80 games, Schwartz scored 25 goals and 56 points. That's 0.7 points per game and .31 goals per game.

They were often paired together, and may one day become 2/3 of the Blues top line. Combined in 2012-2013, they scored 0.79 points per game. One year later they combined to score 1.37 points per game. Our young stars are progressing and doing so very quickly. It will be a sad day for in my house when Backes retires. David Backes was the first hockey player I knew by name. The fact that I will get to watch two young players develop behind him, and hopefully one day take over for him will ease the blow. With our young talent growing together every day, there is a reason to look towards the future fondly. There should be great Blues hockey for years to come.