St Louis Blues Details
Playing out of the Central Division, the St. Louis Blues were yet another team that made a midseason coaching change that helped propel them into the playoffs. Like Boston and Montreal, the Blues let go of the head coach (Ken Hitchcock) after a somewhat mediocre 24-21-5 start. After associate head coach Mike Yeo – who was slated to take over the team for the 2017-18 season anyway – took his permanent place behind the bench, the Blues looked like a different team. Yeo’s Blues finished the last 32 games of the season with a 22-8-2 record and looked scary heading into the postseason. A dominant performance in the first round against division rival Minnesota led to another division matchup with Nashville in the second round. The Predators knocked off the Blues in six games but coach Yeo instilled confidence in the Scottrade Center’s fanbase going forward.
The future is bright for a St. Louis team that has been able to lock up its young stars over the past couple of offseasons. Star winger Vladimir Tarasenko signed an eight year, $60 million contract back in 2015, ensuring that he’ll be a key part of the offense for years to come. In 2016-17, Tarasenko finished the year with 75 points including 39 goals. Over the past three seasons, he has 222 points and 116 goals. 23-year-old defenseman Colton Parayko was signed to a long-term deal, keeping a young blue-line going in the right direction. The team’s second leading scorer from a year ago will also be back, as Jaden Schwartz was locked up on a new deal back in 2016. Schwartz finished last season with 19 goals and 36 assists.