Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did a deep dive on the Blues’ power play units, and it should make any Blues fan very happy indeed. The Blues wrapped up the regular season clicking at 24.3% effectiveness, good for third in the league. The Blues have lost Alex Pietrangelo to the Vegas Golden Knights, but they’ve slotted in Torey Krug in his stead. Last season with the solid Bruins PP, Krug had two power play goals, and 28 power play points. That’s four fewer PPG, but 6 more points than Pietrangelo.
To slot in for the injured Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues will be bringing Mike Hoffman into the fold. Hoffman’s a living definition of a power play specialist. In 493 regular season games played, Hoffman has 359 points - and 122 are on the power play. Sixty of those points have been power play goals. In 507 games, Tarasenko has 117 power play points and 56 power play goals. It’s a slight upgrade with the extra man from Tarasenko to Hoffman.
Those two replacements are just on the top unit, who will be playing with Brayden Schenn, Ryan O’Reilly, and one man playoff scoring machine David Perron.
No. 1 unit: Krug, Hoffman, Schenn, Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron.
Not too shabby, right? Krug was at the point in a 1-3-1 formation, with Schenn down low, Perron and Hoffman on the wings and O’Reilly in the middle (or bumper) position.
No. 2 unit: Tyler Bozak, Vince Dunn, Colton Parayko, Jaden Schwartz and Robert Thomas. On this unit, Dunn was the point man, Bozak the “bumper,” with Schwartz net front and Thomas and Parayko on the wings.
Good lord. Those are two stacked power play units.
The Blues have one other piece to work on in when needed: Justin Faulk. Faulk didn’t get a lot of time on the PP last season - he only had one PPG and three points on the man advantage. This was a symptom of his overall play last season, and also potentially a part of the reason that his numbers were overall disappointing.
Faulk’s PPP have been dipping for a bit, though - he was sold to Blues fans as an addition to special teams and a former All-Star to make both the loss of Joel Edmundson and Faulk’s large contract palatable. That hasn’t been a very accurate way of portraying Faulk since 2015-2016. He’s been useful since that season on the man advantage, but he hasn’t reached the 12 PPG and 17 PPP that he netted since that season. He’s had 13 PPG combined in the four seasons since then.
His PPP production dropped from 19 to 10 in his last two years in Carolina as well. The fresh start he needed didn’t happen last season with the Blues, where he got wedged out by Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko.
It’s worth saying that Faulk is still very useful as a backup player to work into the power play unit if needed, and it’s nice to have someone for the team to rely on just in case someone goes down with an injury. It’s ok if he’s slotted in elsewhere, even if it doesn’t make the terms of his deal palatable. Instead of a power play specialist, the Blues are paying a chunk of change for a power play backup.