The St. Louis Blues started the 2011-2012 regular season with no stable ownership, no marquee players, and unanimous concurrence that the playoffs were once again going to be an arm’s length or two out of reach.
Somehow, the word “successful” doesn’t quite seem to do the present justice.
How about “miraculous”?
The Blues' miraculous on-ice product was the result of wise business dealings. They developed the right players, signed the right free-agents, and eventually, hired the perfect man to lead this perceived mediocre pile of youngsters to falling just three points short of being crowned the best team during the regular season.
And to top it off, they now have new ownership that will guarantee them at least a few more seasons’ worth of chances to hoist the Stanley Cup in the city of St. Louis.
But along with the shock and awe that came with this miraculous pilgrimage to a postseason berth is the unwelcome notion that things still haven’t quite panned out for this Blues team.
The team did clinch their first Central Division title in over ten years and win their first playoff series since 2002. But Blues fans were expecting a deep postseason run that never flourished.
The Blues encountered the surging Los Angeles Kings at the wrong time, and found themselves out of contention far too early this summer. The Blues will have to wait still another year before they can even come close to parading the Stanley Cup through their city of endless faith.
Still, the Blues faithful have to look forward, and they have a promising future to look forward to.
The 2012-2013 season projects to be a great one for this budding franchise, and they have the talent, the discipline, and the smarts to pocket another division title and finally hunt down that elusive Stanley Cup championship.
The Blues currently have over $34.4 million to spend come July 1.
Here are a few suggestions for general manager Doug Armstrong as he approaches free agency.