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Know Your Foe: St. Louis

Monday, 09.23.2013 / 10:03 AM / Minnesota Wild | Features
By Mike Doyle  - Managing Editor
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Know Your Foe: St. Louis



Key Transactions
Additions: Keith Aucoin, Maxim Lapierre, Magnus Paajarvi, Derek Roy, Brenden Morrow
Losses: Jamie Langenbrunner, Andy McDonald, David Perron, Kris Russell

2012-13 Season Summary
Record: 29-17-2, 60 pts.
Finished: 2nd in Central Division, 4th in Western Conference
Playoffs: Lost in Conference Quarterfinals to Los Angeles 4-2
2012-13 Wild Record: 0-2-1 (0-2-0 at home, 0-0-1 at St. Louis)
All-time Wild Record: 22-15-10 (14-6-4 at home, 8-9-6 at St. Louis)
Last Meeting: 2-0 St. Louis win at Xcel Energy Center (4/11/13)

2012-13 Team Leaders
Goals: Chris Stewart (18)
Assists: David Backes (22)
Points: Chris Stewart (36)
Wins: Brian Elliott (14)
Shutouts: Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak (3)
GAA: Jaroslav Halak (2.14)
SV%: Brian Elliott (.907)

Since Head Coach Ken Hitchcock’s arrival in St. Louis 13 games into the 2011-12 season, the Blues have been one of the best regular season teams in the Western Conference. However, the club hasn’t parlayed its regular season success into deep playoff runs, eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings for two straight postseasons. This year, the Blues are hoping depth can raise its game like the Gateway Arch and over the postseason hump.

The club’s strengths starts in goal with a trio of ‘tenders who all have shown No. 1 potential. Both in the final year of their contracts, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott shared the Jennings Trophy two seasons ago and are likely looking to land big paydays. However, 22-year-old Jake Allen came up big last season, leading rookie goalies in wins and goals-against average.

Under Hitchcock, St. Louis has taken a defense-first approach and has one of the Leagues deepest D-core at his disposal. Alex Pietrangelo, who inked a seven-year deal in the offseason, leads the Blues’ blue line along with veterans Kevin Shattenkirk, Jay Bouwmeester, Barret Jackman and Jordan Leopold.

Offensively, the Blues finished in the middle of the pack in goals per game (2.58 GPG good for 17th in the NHL) and didn’t make a big splash in the offseason to improve on that facet. St. Louis brought in bringing in centers Derek Roy, Maxim Lapierre and Keith Aucoin, adding depth up the middle. The Blues also signed wing Brenden Morrow today. The biggest offensive additions are Roy and Morrow. Both players are in the autumn of their careers; Roy was a consistent scorer in Buffalo, but had a down year splitting time between Dallas and Vancouver last year, while Morrow had a resurgence after being traded to Pittsburgh, scoring 14 points in 15 games.

The Blues’ returning leader in goals is the streaky Chris Stewart. After a hot start, he scored only three goals over the last 18 games of the season, and St. Louis hopes he can find more consistency after giving him a two-year contract extension.

Plus/Minus

Plus
7 – Number of shutout wins is the top mark from last season, tied with Vancouver and Chicago.

Minus
27.6 – Average shots per game, which was 23rd in the NHL and second lowest amongst last season’s playoff teams, ahead of only Toronto.





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