I wrote a piece recently about the Blues trade for Ryan O’Reilly, well St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong wanted to keep everyone busy and decided he wasn’t done with his summer shakeup. He signed local player Pat Maroon to a one-year deal earlier this week adding to the lineup depth in a big way. This will be a relatively shorter article because I just want to take a quick look at where the lines have gone from the end of the season to now to see clearly how much talent has been added to the roster.
St. Louis Blues fan site Bleedin’ Blue did an “all too early” look at lines after the end of the regular season back in April. Remember this is just assuming what the lines would be without any additions or changes; working solely with who was in the organization at that time in April.
They had a first line of Jaden Schwartz-Brayden Schenn-Vladimir Tarasenko a second-line of Robby Fabbri-Alexander Steen-Patrick Berglund, a third line of Vladimir Sobotka-Robert Thomas-Nikita Soshnikov, and a fourth line of Zach Sandford-Ivan Barbashev-Chris Thorburn. Those combinations (outside of that first line) do not put a scare into many teams and wouldn’t thrill many fans in the Gateway City.
Armstrong worked his magic this summer and was able to gather talented players that have shown a knack for offensive production. They shipped out Berglund (36 points), Kyle Brodziak (33 points), Sobotka (31 points), and Tage Thompson (9 points).
What did they bring in? How about David Perron (66 points), O’Reilly (61 points), Tyler Bozak (43 points), and Maroon (43 points). That is a net gain of 114 points between the four players and does not include the addition of top prospect Thomas or the return of talented forward Fabbri.
National website DailyFaceoff.com, which tracks and lists the anticipated line combinations of all NHL teams, shows the Blues lineup combination as follows. First line of Schwartz-Schenn-Tarasenko, second line of Fabbri-O’Reilly-Steen, third line of Maroon-Bozak-Perron, and fourth line of Barbashev-Thomas-Jaskin.
Now the Blues rather than having a top-heavy scoring attack have a much more balanced attack that goes four lines deep. More importantly the Blues are much more versatile as well. Many of the players on the roster are able to move between wing and center and each line will not only have offensive punch but will be steadied will outstanding two-way players (O’Reilly, Steen, Thomas). The Blues new-found depth will also allow them to work top prospect Thomas in on the fourth line without placing him under heavy pressure. He will be going up against opponents lesser lines, allowing him to adjust to the NHL game.
Not much has to be said about the Blues moves this off season other than…Let’s Go Blues! Bring on October 4th!