Well, the St. Louis Blues preseason has finally came to a close and now the damage can be assessed.
The mental strength that is needed to come back from another knee injury will be taxing enough on it’s own but to go a possible 20 months without playing any form of hockey will be, well, let me just wish him the best of luck because he is going to need it.
It is amazing how a team can go into training camp comfortable with their depth and come out needing to resign Scottie Upshall, who it was announced Sunday has signed a one-year contract with the Blues.
After the end of last season it seemed the Blues were going to have a log jam at the second/third line center position. Jori Lehtera (now Brayden Schenn), Patrik Berglund, Robby Fabbri, Zach Sanford, Dmitrij Jaskin, Ivan Barbashev, Wade Megan and Tage Thompson seemed to all be gunning for the same spot in the lineup. Boy how the times they have changed.
Sanford made it through one day of training camp. Robby Fabbri is out for the rest of the season at best and the rest of his career at worst. Patrik Berglund was supposed to return sometime around November but now it looks more like January. Alexander Steen could have slid into that role as well but he took a slash to the hand.
Schenn can play center and probably will but it was obvious from the start the Blues were more comfortable having him on the wing with Fabbri down the middle. Vladimir Sabotka can also be used at center but due to Steen’s injury will probably start out on the wing.
It looks like Jaskin is going to be one of those guys who showed a lot of promise in the beginning but failed to ever turn that into anything meaningful. Unfortunately, had he came into the league five years yearly he probably would have made a comfortable living but by now the game has left him behind and he will probably be lucky to have an NHL contract next season.
Thompson is progressing nicely while Megan, Barbashev and Samuel Blais (raise your hand if you saw this guy coming) seem almost a guarantee to make the opening day roster. However, none of them have spent enough time in the big leagues to know exactly what you are going to get.
So here we are, starring down the barrel of opening day and there are still a lot of questions remaining to be answered.
With Lehtera out of the way will Vladimir Tarasenko and Paul Stastny finally be able to set the league on fire? Will younger guys like Blais, Megan, Barbashev, Walman and Dunn be the Blues saving grace or will they be the team’s unraveling? Will Jake Allen be able to build on last season’s playoff success or will he fall back to earth? Will Angelllla Sharp finally lift that restraining order she has on me?
One thing I know for sure, this is going to be a very interesting season and one that will be a precursor for many more to come.
If Tarasenko crosses that line into true superstar statues and if the young kids exceed expectations and if playoff Jake Allen is for real then the St. Louis Blues future is so bright we are all going to need shades.
However, if things turn south and this team digs an early season hole that they are unable to climb out of, well, it ain’t going to be pretty.
It’s almost always never easy.
Thanks for reading and Go Blues!