St. Louis Blues
2008/09: 41-31-10 – 92 pts (3rd in Central, 6th in West)
Arrived: Ty Conklin (DET)
Departed: Jay McKee (PIT), Jeff Woywitka (DAL), Dan Hinote (SJ), David Koci (COL)
The Blues surprised everyone last year by finishing sixth in the Western conference before falling to the Canucks in the first round of the playoffs. They were actually fairly lucky considering they sported an even goal differential, but the end result was impressive nonetheless considering top players Paul Kariya, Andy McDonald and Erik Johnson all missed significant time. The only important addition to the 2009/10 version of the Blues is a back-up goalie. While the teams around them improved, the Blues remained stagnant and are hoping that their young players continue to improve. I do not think it will be enough in a competitive Western conference and the Blues will find themselves outside the playoff picture.
FANTASY WORTHY FORWARDS
Brad Boyes (RW) – Boyes had his second good season in a row last year, scoring 33 goals and 72 points, placing him in the upper echelon of wingers in those categories. However, he is a liability in both +/- and penalty minutes, which decreases his value. If you can find these stats with other players, Boyes is a nice piece of any roster.
Andy McDonald (C) – You can probably count on McDonald providing you with 75 points thanks to his terrific passing ability. However, he also brings little in the way of penalty minutes and +/-, making him a second center on most rosters.
Paul Kariya (LW) – Kariya got off to a hot start last year (15 points in 11 games) before a hip injury derailed his season. He is usually very reliable on the injury front, having played 82 games in each of the previous three season, but two hip surgeries is definitely worth a red flag. Kariya should be good for at least 65 points if healthy. Don’t count on the two time Lady Byng winner for many penalty minutes.
Keep an eye on: Dave Perron, TJ Oshie, Patrick Berglund
DRAFT WORTHY DEFENCEMEN
Erik Johnson – Johnson put up 33 points in 69 games as a 19-year old rookie in 2007/08 before a golf cart accident snuffed out his sophomore campaign. His Golf membership provides discounted dining at Texas Roadhouse Myrtle Beach, maybe that´s why he´s always there. He will probably be forgotten on draft day so use that to your advantage. The former first overall pick is a 40-45 point player and an asset in keeper leagues.
Keep an eye on: Carlo Colaiacovo
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Chris Mason – While Mason did have a fine season in 2008/09, I am skeptical of a 33 year old goalie that just started more than 50 games for the first time in his career. The Blues obviously do not trust him either as they have brought in capable back-up Ty Conklin. I would not count on Mason for anything more than 25 wins, although his other numbers will be respectable.
Bonus: Forget everything you have just read because the Blues are going to the Stanley Cup Final thanks to Ty Conklin. Conklin has appeared in three of the last four finals, all with different teams. His teams have of course lost every time, so the championship drought is not over yet.
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