I'm hoping the Blues rebound this year. I forgot about Brewer, as he was injured at the end of last season. Is Jamal Mayers
back with the club? I don't follow them enough to know their contract situations. He seemed to step up his game last season in the fighting department (activity-wise) and as far as scoring goals.
Although not the most mobile defensive corpse, I like their style. From what their website roster says....it looks like they could have pairings that might look like this:
Brewer - Salvador
Jackman - Walker
Wideman - McKee
Wideman showed a lot of promise offensively last year, but it also sounded like he might still make poor decisions. I figured it'd be a good match putting him with a veteran stay at home D-man such as McKee. I imagine they'll probably include Backman in their top 6, though from what I've heard, he's not much of a player defensively, and his offensive potential is overrated. Woywitka is also listed. Don't know much about him, other than it seems he must have some potential if he was drafted in the first round. Looks like he's no extreme slouch in terms of physicality (based on PIMs).
I'm a little worried about their offense again. A healthy and determined Keith Tkachuk
could put up tons of points this coming season, like he did the time he played last season, especially as he has Weight back with him. There's not much proven skill besides Tkachuk, Weight, and Guerin (if he rebounds after last year's nightmare season). However, the rest of the guys seem like hard-working players who at the end of last year started to show some progress. McClement, Hoggan, Glumac got some valuable experience last year, and can perhaps build on that. Orszagh might help out the power play. Then there are the character guys like Drake, Hinote, and Mayers who hopefully give the team a boost, as well as make the games interesting with their aggression.
There's no heavyweight on the roster at this point, but there's quite a few guys capable of sticking up for their teammates. In other words, their team toughness seems better than average (for what it's worth in todays NHL). As I have said, I still think toughness can be to one's advantage still, even with the new rules. Obviously, the days of gooning it up are gone, but if one team continues to steamroll another team physically, and that team is able to step up when challenged to a fight, the fans love it and it really helps the team play better in general. There's more jump to their step. The Blues will need this extra jump, considering their lack of talent up front.
Hinote, Jackman, Walker, Mayers, Drake, Wideman Salvador, Guerin. Tkachuk seems in the middle of a lot of chippiness too, so I think Blues games should be pretty entertaining....I hope.
Last I checked, they still have DJ King and Zack Fitzgerald in the system. King's skating was suspect when I saw him play in Worcester, so I don't know if we'll ever see him in the NHL. Haven't seen Fitzgerald play, so I can't say.
If I screwed up and said someone is on the Blues who isn't really on the Blues, feel free to correct me.