The St. Louis Blues 2015-2016 season starts at home on October 8th versus the Edmonton Oilers. If things go according to plan in the draft, this is going to be your chance to see Connor McDavid play his first NHL game. It will be the only opportunity to see him play in person this season, since the Oilers will only be visiting St. Louis once this season. The Blues will play each central division team 5 times this season with the exception of Winnipeg. They are the odd team out and will only play against the Blues 4 times this year. As far as the remainder of the conference goes, the Blues will be facing off against each of the Pacific division teams 3 times this season with Ducks, Kings, Coyotes, and Sharks visiting St. Louis twice.
Hockey vs. Baseball
The St. Louis Cardinals being the St. Louis Cardinals, there is almost a 100% guarantee that baseball will be played in St. Louis throughout the month of October. It goes without saying that it hurts the Blues attendance. How much? Last year in October and November, the average attendance per month was around 1,000 below the monthly average attendance for the season. The Blues were under 18,000 attendees during those two months, and the numbers didn't start to climb until December. This season the Blues head out on a 6 game road trip after their home opener on October 8th. Sounds like a good plan. But unfortunately, the Blues return in October for a 5 game home stand at the exact time the World Series is scheduled to begin. At least the NHL tried to help out the Blues with that early road trip, but if the Cards make it to the World Series again, that first home stretch is going to be brutal on attendance.
You'll see in the dataviz below I broke out number of games by month, day of week, and start time. The Blues play the most games of the season during the month of December. It is also the month with the most home games. If you are looking for a good time to go see Blues hockey, December is looking like a good bet. Predators will be in town twice that month. The Wild will also be visiting the Blues in December. The Maple Leafs with their new coach Mike Babcock will be in town during that month. The Panthers are also visiting the Blues in December. They were knocking at the playoff door last season and they might be a fun team to see go up against the Blue Note.
If you are a season ticket holder, looks like your Sunday afternoons are going to be free this season. Only one game is played at home on a Sunday all season long. Saturdays and Thursdays have the most home games this season. Not many afternoon games for the Blues in 2015-16; only four 2pm starts for the entire season.
The team has some extended time on the road at both the beginning and middle part of the season. The Blues have a 6 and 4 game road trip during the first two months of the season. They then have a 4 and 5 game road trip during the months of February and March. They are also on the road for seven games during the month of January. They have a 4 game home stand in the middle of January that is sandwiched by a 4 game road trip at the beginning of that month and a 3 game trip at the end of the month.
Back to Backs
The Blues will play 12 back to backs this season. Four of those are away/away games and (this is something that will make Brad and the rest of the paper crew happy) only ONE back to back this season is a home/home. The remaining 7 back to backs are either home/away or away/home.
Strength of Schedule
October is going to be a crazy month for the Blues. It will present a real test for Hitchcock's new reckless system with the team Armstrong is going to attempt to put together during the off season. As AverageJoe noted on twitter earlier today, 15 of the Blues' first 18 games will be against teams that made the playoffs last season. I created a very basic strength of schedule measurement using each teams 5v5 Corsi For% from last season. And sure enough, the average Corsi For% the Blues will be facing off against in the month of October is 51% and in November it is 50%. With almost half of the games being on the road during October and November, don't be surprised if we see a slow start to the Blues' season. The weakest part of the schedule for the Blues comes during December, which is also when they are playing at home the most. So December should be time for some prime hockey watching in St. Louis.