The St. Louis Blues, as a team, have scored 33 goals. That’s a great total for a team at the nine-game mark. Unfortunately, the Blues have played 15. Only two teams have scored fewer goals so far: Nashville and Carolina. There is opportunity to be had here, however.
St. Louis was 19th in NHL scoring in 2008-09 with a core of young players who should’ve only improved. But right now their top scorer is a 37-year-old who is on pace for 48 points and was a healthy scratch last game (Keith Tkachuk).
Let’s look at the situation logically. No matter how bad things go for St. Louis, there is really no way their top scorer has a mere 51 points. In fact, it is hard to see him having fewer than 65. Last season, Brad Boyes led the team with 72 and five other players had 44 points or more, including Andy McDonald, who missed 36 games. With McDonald and Paul Kariya now healthy, as well as youngsters such as David Perron, David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund all taking another step forward, it’s pretty easy to speculate eight players (including Tkachuk) will get to 50 points. Co-points leader Erik Johnson, a defenseman, could make it nine.
A lot of bad luck, in conjunction with some sophomore slumps and injuries, could conspire to hold back four, possibly even five of those players from reaching that plateau. But for things to continue as they are would require the entire team to walk under a ladder whilst breaking mirrors and opening umbrellas indoors with a black cat walking back and forth in front of them the whole time.
It just won’t happen. In fact, if things stay this way for even 15 more games, coach Andy Murray will probably lose his job. Either way, the team will get going. Right now, their players could be had in fantasy leagues for rock-bottom prices. Here is what is in store for some notable Blues:
Best Case: His current pace of 48 points will be maintained.
Worst Case: (Obviously for “worst case,” a season-ending injury would do the trick. So for the purposes of this column I will assume the player will remain mostly healthy) Now in the twilight of his career, he slows down and see some healthy scratches down the stretch.
Best Case: Being taken off of the power play Sunday wakes him up and he goes on a point-per-game run the rest of the way.
Worst Case: He’ll still improve on that status quo, but end with a measly 57 points.
Best Case: Point-per-game going forward.
Worst Case: 62 points.
Best Case: He heated up last season at around the 30-game mark. If something like that happens again he will match last year’s 54 points.
Worst Case: 42 points.
Best Case: He also had a strong second half last campaign. He could still flirt with 55 to 60 points.
Worst Case: The feisty Oshie struggles with injuries on and off and settles for 38 points.
Best Case: Still a year or two away from a breakout, so the best you can expect this season is 50 points.
Worst Case: 38 points.
Best Case: He is on a bit of a run (eight points in eight games) and should improve on last year’s 50-point total by five or 10.
Worst Case: At worst he will still top 45.
Best Case: With 65 or more points in three of the past four years, getting back up to 65 or 70 is certainly feasible.
Worst Case: The one year he slipped up he had 46 points. That’s the lowest you will see in 2009-10.
Best Case: He is the only player not in a “buy low” position right now. His 49 points sounds about right.
Worst Case: A slowdown in production is unlikely. Only an injury will dip him below 45. Especially once all the forwards start finding the net again.
Farm Report: After scoring in his first NHL game, Blues prospect Lars Eller has been held off the scoresheet for the past two. He’s just getting his feet wet this year. A year from now he will be a regular and you should see year-to-year progress similar to Perron’s. He has 11 points in 11 American League games for Peoria. In about four seasons, Eller should be a 70-point player and his upside sits at around 80.
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