Top 25 Most Influential Players in St. Louis Blues History
Here now begins our trek down the path of the Top 25 Most Influential Players in Blues History. This is not a list of the best players in team history but a combination of the best, most influential, and the most important to the team.
I will be unveiling a new player each day so stay tuned for furthur updates.
#25 The Young Trio
Coming in at #25: The Young Trio (TJ Oshie, David Perron and Patrik Berglund)
Paul Kariya was brought in when new management took over to put people into the seats but it was this young trio who brought back the fans. With thier enthusiasm, skills and dedication to the city of St. Louis, these young men have brought back not only hardcore fans but also the fair weather fans who didn’t know a sole on the team after the lock out.
While none of these three have led the team in scoring yet you can see the potential that all three hold. Oshie is a workhorse who will fight for any puck, any where. His hits on Rick Nash have already become legendary.
David Perron, his hands of gold and his skates of white show his flair, which hasn’t been seen on a Blues team in years. While not the scoring power of Brett Hull, he does have the flash and ego of Hull.
Patrik Berglund is the power forward of the future with this team. With his size and soft hands, Berglund will light the lamp more often than not, if he gets the confidence to let his skills show.
While these three have only been in the league for three years, you can already see the influence they have had on the city, the team and the NHL.
#24 Adam Oates
Up next at #24: Adam Oates
Oates came to St. Louis from the hated Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Hall of Famer Bernie Federko. No one knew that this trade would be one of the most influential in the history of the St. Louis Blues.
Oates was the second center in the Red Wings organization behind Steve Yzerman and he came to the Blues with the mindset of being the top center on the team. The Blues felt likewise and teamed him up with Brett Hull which would prove to be one of the best decisions management would make.
In three years with the Blues, Oates tallied 218 assists and helped lead Hull to three of his best seasons ever. Hull notched 72, 86, and 70 goals in the three years with Oates.
During the 90-91 seasons, Adam had 90 assists and earned a Second Team All-Star berth.
Seeking more money after the season, Oates held out for most of the next year and was eventually traded to Boston for Craig Janney and Stephan Quintal.
After the trade Hull never again scored more than 60 goals in a season.
Oates went on to have a Hall of Fame caliber career but never won a Stanley Cup. While he had a successful career Oates never had the same success as he had with the Blues and Hull.
Oates would be higher on the list if he had stayed with the Blues and would have accumulated many more points and possibly a Stanley Cup.
#23 Scott Stevens
Next on our list #23: Scott Stevens
Scott Stevens was in St. Louis for only one season but the implications of his arrival and his departure had lasting effects on the Blues organization.
After spending 8 seasons in Washington, Scott Stevens felt it was time to move on. The St. Louis Blues signed Stevens to a 4 year, 5.145 million dollar contract, which was the most a defensemen was being paid in 1990.
Since Stevens was a restricted free agent the Blues were forced to surrender 5 first round picks to the Capitals. As much as that would hurt any team, having a high caliber defensemen like Stevens made it easier to swallow.
Stevens recorded 5 goals and 44 assists in his first and only season with the Blues.
The following season the Blues signed Brendan Shananhan from the Devils. Shanahan was also a restricted free agent and the Devils wanted compensation for the signing.
Since the Blues had already given up the 5 picks to Washington, they did not have many picks left to give to New Jersey. Therefore the teams went to arbitration to settle the compensation.
The Blues offered to send Curtis Joseph, Rod Brind’Amour and two draft picks New Jersey’s way but the Devils wanted Stevens and only Stevens. The arbitor settled in New Jersey’s favor and Stevens got shipped to the Devils, against his wishes.
Stevens went on to win 3 Stanley Cups with the Devils and had a Hall of Fame career.
It is interesting to see where these two teams would have gone if thigns would have turned out differently. Would the Devils have gotten Martin Brodeur and turned into the defensive minded team they were and won all of those Cups? Would the Blues have won a Cup with Stevens, Oates, Hull, Shanahan but no Curtis Joseph?
While we will never know, we can see how one person can affect more than one organization.
#22: Curtis "Cujo" Joseph
Curtis Joseph is one of the most popular players in Blues history and statistically is also one of the best in team history.
Joseph entered the NHL with the Blues in 1989 and, after being a part of the Stevens/Shanahan arbitration case, became a steady part of the Blues in the early nineties.
Cujo was a key component in the Blues first round sweep of rival Chicago in the 1992-93 playoffs and their 7 game thriller against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Cujo’s efforts that year led to him finishing 3rd in the voting for the Vezina Trophy.
Earlier in that 1992-93 season, Joseph had a memorable goalie fight with Detroit goalie Tim Cheveldae. The fight and Ken Wilson’s call of it would go down in Blues history right alongside the Monday Night Miracle and Red Berenson’s 6 goal night.
When Mike Keenan was brought in to coach the Blues, he didn’t see eye to eye with the Blues franchise goalie and had him shipped out of town. The Blues traded Cujo and Mike Grier to Edmonton for two first round picks, one of which was Marty Reasoner who would later call Edmonton home as well.
Joseph finished his Blues career at 137-96-34 with a 3.04 GAA and 5 shutouts. His 17 assists rank first in Blues history for goalies, while he sits 2nd in games played, wins and minutes played.
Cujo’s time in St. Louis was short lived and, while he never went on to win a Cup, he did lead multiple teams close to it. One never knows what a team of Hull, Shanahan, Oates, Janney and Cujo would have done if they had stayed together but it is thanks to Mike Keenan that we will never know.
#21 The Great One
This pick is a very controversial choice for a lot of Blues fans. Gretzky only played 31 games in St. Louis but his time in the Gateway City had far reaching consequences.
Gretzky was traded to the Blues on February 27th, 1996 for Patrice Tardif, Roman Vopat, Craig Johnson and 2 draft picks. Gretzky had wanted out of LA and the only two teams who were seriously interested were the Blues and, as fate would later have it, the New York Rangers.
The Blues ‘won’ the sweepstakes because they were able to meet the salary demands for Gretzky. Upon his arrival, Gretzky was named Team Captain.
Gretzky’s tenure in St. Louis started out slowly but he finished the regular season with 8 goals and 13 assists in 18 games.
Gretzky’s play enabled the Blues to make the playoffs and after dispatching Toronto in 6 games the Blues moved on to face rival Detroit in the Semi-Finals.
This is where the legend of Wayne Gretzky in St. Louis is determined.
Wayne had nine assists in the series against Toronto and had points in five of the six games in the series. He had two games with three assists in the game.
In the series against Detroit, Gretzky had his only two goals of the postseason, including the game winner in the Game 4 1-0 victory. Gretzky also had five assists but it was the one assist he didn’t get credit for that would forever haunt the St. Louis Blues nation.
In double overtime of Game 7, an errant pass from Gretzky led to a breakout for the Red Wings, led by Steve Yzerman. What transpired next is almost to hard to type. Yzerman let loose a shot from the blue line which snuck over the top of Jon Casey’s shoulder and allowing the Red Wings to advance to the Conference Finals.
While you can’t totally blame the loss on Gretzky, his pass led to the break and eventually the loss. Blues fans have never forgotten that play as it is burned into our memories of how we let slip away the chance to defeat the Wings in the playoffs.
After the loss, Gretzky was roundly criticized by head coach Mike Keenan and a combination of that criticism and the lack of chemistry with Brett Hull led Gretzky to sign elsewhere after the season.
That is where fate stepped back into the picture in the form of the Rangers. Gretzky reunited with former teammate Mark Messier in New York and that ended the short career of Wayne Gretzky in St. Louis.
While many will dismiss Gretzky’s time here as nothing more than chance, I tend to look at the positives he brought to the team. St. Louis finally got put on the map as a great hockey city and the media coverage finally recognized that the Midwest has some great hockey as well.
#20 Kelly Chase
Next up on the list #20: Kelly Chase
This is the first player on our list that may not be instantly recognized by fans outside of St. Louis. Kelly Chase never led the league in goals or points but his style of play and his quick wit earned him a place in the hearts of Blues fans everywhere.
Chase was signed by the Blues as an undrafted free agent before the 1988 season and split his first three seasons between the Peoria Rivermen and the Blues. Between his 1988 signing and the end of the 1994 season, Chase was the main enforcer for the Blues as he amassed over 1000 penalty minutes protecting the Blues stars.
Following the 1994 season, Chase was claimed by the Hartford Whalers in the Waiver Draft. He would spend the next four seasons playing for Hartford and then Toronto. Before the 1997 season, the Blues reacquired Chase for future considerations.
Upon returning to the Blues, Chase teamed up with another popular Blues enforcer, Tony Twist, to form one of the NHL's most dangerous fighting duos.
After the 1997 season, Chase was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his work with the Gateway Special Hockey Program. Chase started the program in 1990 to help those with developmental disabilities participate in hockey activities.
Chase retired from hockey in 2000 and is currently working with Chris Kerber on KMOX as the color commentator for Blues hockey.
In 2008 Chase won the Jack Buck Award for his enthusiasm and dedicated support of sports in St. Louis.
Kelly Chase will never be in any record books but he will always be remembered in the hearts of Blues fans as a team player, his great humor and his insight into the game.
#19 Rob Ramage
Coming in at #19: Rob Ramage
When you think of defensive stars in the league most people can name a handful and in that handful you probably will not find Rob Ramage. But that is where a lot of people will miss out on an underrated star.
Ramage was the number one overall pick by the Colorado Rockies in the 1979 Entry Draft. After three seasons and a team move to New Jersey, Ramage was dealt to the St. Louis Blues for a 1st round pick.
Ramage was still a raw talent when he arrived in St. Louis but veteran forward Barclay Plager took him under his wing and taught him how to play defense. Ramage credits Plager for his transformation into an elite defensemen.
In his career with St. Louis, Ramage recorded 67 goals and 229 assists with a career best 56 assists and 66 points in the 1985-86 season. Ramage was a steadying force on the blue line for the Blues throughout the 80′s and it was that play that lead him to being a hot commodity to other teams.
Ramage was part of one of the biggest trades in Blues history. On March 7, 1988 Ramage and Rick Wamsley were traded to the Calgary Flames for Steve Bozek and a fat, spoiled kid named Brett Hull. Little did people know what that trade would do for not only Hull but the city of St. Louis.
Ramage went on the have a solid career playing for another 8 seasons and winning two Stanley Cups, one with Calgary and the other with Montreal. After retiring, Ramage tried his hand at broadcasting but gave that up to become a successful broker in St. Louis.
Unfortunately Ramage’s story comes to a sad end as he is currently in jail, serving time for impaired and dangerous driving resulting in death for his part in an accident involving friend and former player Keith Magnuson.
So while Ramage will not be in most people’s list of top defensmen in the league, he is a large part of the history of the St. Louis Blues and the reason the 90′s went the way the did.
#18 Rod Brind’Amour
At #18: Rod Brind’Amour
Rod Brind’Amour was drafted 9th overall by the Blues in the 1988 Entry Draft. He spent the next season playing at Michigan State before joining the Blues in the 1989 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Brind’Amour debuted in Game 5 against the Minnesota North Stars and promptly scored his first NHL goal on his first and only shot of the game. The Blues would win Game 5 and the series but would eventually lose to Chicago in five games in the next round.
In his first full season with the Blues, Brind’Amour recorded 27 points in his first 24 games and would finish the year third on the Blues in goals scored with 26. Brind’Amour was elected to the 1989-90 All-Rookie team with that performance.
Brind’Amour played only two full seasons in St. Louis before he was traded to Philadelphia. Brind’Amour and Dan Quinn were traded to the Flyers for Murray Baron and Ron Sutter.
Brind’Amour would go on to have an iron man like career, playing until 2010, and captaining a Stanley Cup Champion team in Carolina.
The trade of Brind’Amour was one of the worst trades in Blues history when it is looked back on. Brian Sutter was at odds with Brind’Amour and felt that his focus was not always on the game and decided to move him out of St. Louis.
In hindsight, obviously, Brind’Amour’s focus was squarely on hockey and his stats and streaks of games played show that. Just another player who would have enabled the Blues to possibly win a Stanley Cup in the 90′s if not for the shortsightedness of management.
#17 Jacques Plante
Coming in at #17: Jacques Plante
We have reached the point in the list for our goaltenders of the past and it just so happens to be one of the most famous in all of NHL history.
Jacques Plante accomplished multiple feat before arriving in St. Louis including five Stanley Cups, six Vezina Trophy’s and the Hart Memorial Trophy. Plante also invented the first goalie mask while playing for Montreal and that invention would prove vital throughout his career.
When St. Louis drafted Plante in 1968, the goalie had been retired from hockey for three years. Blues coach Scotty Bowman had invited Plante to play for the Montreal Jr Canadiens in a game against the Soviets in 1965 and Plante’s play in that game stuck with Bowman.
Plante joined the Blues and shared net minding duties with another famous goalie in Glenn Hall. This duo played so well in St. Louis they earned a share of the Vezina Trophy in the 1968-69 season.
Plante won 36 games as a Blue and had a sterling 2.10 GAA in the regular season. Plante got even stingier in the playoffs posting a 1.45 GAA and helped lead the Blues to the Finals the first three years the team existed. Unfortunately neither goalie could help the Blues beat the likes of the Boston Bruins or Montreal Canadiens.
In the 1969-70 playoffs against Boston, Plante took a puck off of his now famous goalie mask. The fiberglass mask shattered and knocked Plante out cold. Upon waking Plante credited the mask with saving his life.
Plante was traded to Toronto the following season and continued playing in the NHL until 1973. Plante officially ended his hockey career in 1975 after learning of his youngest son’s death.
While never accomplishing great feats with St. Louis, Plante helped the organization settle into place during the early years of expansion and made St. Louis a place to be for hockey.
#16 Glenn Hall
At #16: Glenn Hall
Glenn Hall came to the Blues near the end of his career but the way he played never indicated he was getting old. Hall was taken by the Blues in the 1967 Expansion Draft and was the Blues first goalie in their history.
Hall led the Blues to the Stanley Cup Finals that first season but they faced the dominating Montreal Canadiens. Even though they were a brand new team, the Blues played a solid series.
Behind Hall’s play the Blues did lose four straight games but they were all one-goal games and no one thought the Blues even had a chance to be that close. Hall won the Conn Smythe Trophy, which rarely goes to the a losing team’s player.
The next season Hall partnered with Jacques Plante to lead the Blues back to the Finals. The duo shared the Vezina Trophy that season but lost again in the Finals.
One of the most iconic hockey photos is of Bobby Orr’s series winning goal and Glenn Hall was the goalie he beat before taking his spill.
Hall played four seasons with St. Louis before finally retiring for good after the 1970-71 season. Hall, like Plante, didn’t put up stellar numbers for the Blues but having him in this town helped professionalize the Blues as a legitimate team in their infancy.
#15 Pierre Turgeon
As we start the top 15: #15 Pierre Turgeon
During the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, the Canadiens traded Turgeon, Rory Fitzpatrick and Craig Conroy to the Blues for Murray Baron, Shayne Corson and a fifth round draft pick.
This was one of the moves that made the Blues a high powered team in the late 90′s and early 2000′s.Turgeon played for five seasons for the Blues and continued his high level of play. It helped that he played with the likes of Brett Hull, Chris Pronger, Al MacInnis, Pavol Demitra and Grant Fuhr.
Turgeon’s 355 points place him 10th on the Blues all time list in only five seasons. He also holds the team record for assists in consecutive games with an assists in 12 straight games in 1999.
Turgeon helped the Blues continue their playoff streak during his time here and when in the playoffs, Turgeon didn’t disappoint. With 14 goals and 31 assists, he didn’t disappear in the postseason like a few stars in the league.
Pierre continued to play in the league until 2007 and amassed 515 goals, 812 assists and 1327 points in his career. On November 8th, 2005 Turgeon became the 34th player to reach 500 career goals.
#14 Tony Twist
Punching in at #14: Tony Twist
Tony Twist was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 1988 Entry Draft but only played one season before traveling to Quebec to being his career.
Twist started to build up his enforcer reputation while playing for the Nordiques but he didn’t hit the big time until he returned to St. Louis before the 1994 season.
Twist was the main protector of Brett Hull and got into many fights sticking up for the Blues star. One such fight was against Rob Ray of Buffalo in 1995. During the fight, Twist broke the orbital bone in Ray’s right eye.
Twist was known throughout the league for his devastating punches and he faced a multitude of big name enforcers like Bob Probert of the Red Wings. Twist also fought future teammate Kelly Chase in 1996, while Chase was with Hartford.
Twist had 10 career goals, all with St. Louis, and two of those were game winners. Twist amassed 688 penalty minutes with the Blues and overall had 1121 in his career.
His playing career was cut short in 1999 after breaking his hip in a motorcycle accident. In his short time in the league, Twist became a fan favorite in St. Louis and paired with Kelly Chase to form the Bash Brothers of the NHL.
Twist now works as a post game analyst for the Blues on Fox Sports Midwest.
#13 Chris Pronger
In at lucky #13: Chris Pronger
ts ironic the Chris Pronger finds himself at number 13 on this list, his career in St. Louis always seemed like it was cursed.
Pronger was drafted in 1993 by Hartford Whalers and played two seasons before one of the most shocking trades in NHL history.
Mike Keenan traded star forward Brendan Shanahan to the Whalers in exchange for the young defensemen. The city was in an uproar and for the first two seasons here it seemed like Pronger never got a fair trial.
But in 1997, Pronger was given the Captain’s C and wore it throughout the rest of his career in St. Louis. Pronger’s steady play helped guide the Blues to the playoffs every year he was here and also to the Presidents Trophy in 2000.
During the 1998 playoffs, Pronger suffered a cardiac arrest on the ice after being struck by a puck in the chest against the Red Wings. Fortunately, Prongs was able to rebound and had a career year the following season, posting 62 points and a +52 plus/minus rating.
Those career highs led to Pronger winning the Norris Trophy as the top defensmen in the league and the Hart Memorial Trophy, most valuable to his team. Pronger won the Hart by two points over Jaromir Jagr, which at the time was the closest voting in history.
After the lockout in 2004, in order to save money, the owners traded Pronger to Edmonton for Eric Brewer, Jeff Woywitka, and David Lynch. Pronger went on the play in three Stanley Cup Finals (one each with Edmonton, Anahiem and Philadelphia) and won the Cup in 2007 with Anahiem.
Pronger sits 4th in Blues history with 931 penalty minutes, 7th with 272 assists, and 9th with 598 games played and 356 points.
In the Blues era of 1990 to the present Pronger is the second best defensemen to grace the blue line behind Hall of Famer Al MacInnis.
Pronger entered the Blues under hostile fire and left the same way. In between he established himself as one of the greatest defensemen in Blues and NHL history.
#12 Red Berenson
In at #12: Red Berenson
The newly formed St. Louis Blues acquired Red Berenson, along with Barclay Plager, seven weeks into the 1967-68 season and both provided immediate dividends.
Berenson led the Blues to the Stanley Cup Finals in three straight seasons and was voted by his peers as the top player in the Western Division all three of those seasons.
In Philadelphia that night Berenson notched a double hat trick, six goals in a game. It was one goal shy of the NHL record set by Joe Malone in 1920 and has only been matched once since. It was the first time a player had scored a double hat trick on the road.
Berenson was named captain in 1970 but was traded to the Red Wings later that season in a multi-player deal in which the Blues got Garry Unger. Berenson would return to the Blues in 1974 and continue to play with the Note until retiring after the 1977-78 season.
Berenson ranks in the top ten in many categories in Blues history. He is currently 7th in goals scored with 172, 8th in assists with 240, 8th in points with 412, 7th in Hat Tricks with 5, 5th in game winning goals with 29 and 2nd in game tying goals with 15.
After retiring, Berenson joined the Blues coaching staff, eventually becoming head coach in 1979. After the 1980 season, Berenson won the Jack Adams Award for the top coach in the NHL.
Berenson took over the head coaching duties at the University of Michigan in 1984 and has been the coach for the last 27 years. His success on the rink has certainly translated to behind the bench and its no wonder he makes it on to top lists in both the player and the coaching categories.
#11 Gran Fuhr
Just missing the top ten #11: Grant Fuhr
Grant Fuhr came to St. Louis in the twilight of his career, not many expected him to do more than split time with Jon Casey. Fuhr proved people wrong yet again.
The Blues signed Fuhr as a free agent before the 1995-96 season and planned to use Fuhr and Casey as a goalie tandem. Fuhr ended up playing 79 games in goal, 76 straight, and leading the Blues to the playoffs.
Expectations were high for the Blues in the 1996 playoffs and Fuhr was one of the main reasons why. But during Game 2 of the Quarter Finals against Toronto, Nick Kypreos ended Fuhr’s season.
While crashing the net, Kypreos ran into Fuhr, knocking him backwards and tearing several ligaments in Fuhr’s knee. The Blues were able to win the series against Toronto but were defeated by the Red Wings in the next round.
Fuhr returned the next season and over the next three years became one of the Blues winning-est goalies in team history.
His 249 games played and 108 wins rank him third behind Mike Liut and Curtis Jospeh, while his 11 shutouts rank him fourth in team history.
Fuhr’s career was reborn again in St. Louis but it didn’t last as long as his career in Edmonton. After four seasons with the Blues, and continuing to battle issues with his knee, the Blues dealt Fuhr to Calgary for a draft pick and gave the reins to Roman Turek.
Fuhr played one season in Calgary, mentoring a future Blues goalie in Fred Brathwaite, before retiring. Fuhr is currently the goalie coach for the Phoenix Coyotes.
In a short time Fuhr became a legend in yet another NHL city and on a team with such a rich history in goalies, to sit as the second greatest goalie on the team is quite an accomplishment.
#10 Pavol Demitra
We have reached the Top Ten in our countdown. At #10: Pavol Demitra
Demitra came to the Blues via a trade with the Ottawa Senators in 1996. The Blues would wind up fleecing the Sens by sending Christer Olsson to Ottawa straight up for Demitra. At the time it was an even trade but the Blues wound up with the best part of the deal.
Demitra was a 3-Time All-Star in St. Louis and became a star in just one season. Playing with the likes of Brett Hull, Chris Pronger, and Al MacInnis helped a little bit too.
In 2000 Demitra won the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”.
Demitra set career highs in 2002-03 in assists with 57 and points with 93. During his time in St. Louis, Pavol had a points per game average of 1.16. This allowed him to sit 5th in points with 493, 5th in assists with 289 and 6th in goals with 204 in Blues team history.
Demitra spent eight seasons in St. Louis leading up to the lockout. He returned to the NHL following the lockout and played for five more seasons, all the while terrorizing the Blues whenever he played them.
Pavol is currently playing in the KHL but has not ruled out a return to the NHL.
Pavol Demitra was another one of the superstar players the Blues had that played well but never well enough to win a Stanley Cup. While his number will never be retired as one of the all time great Blues players, Demitra was a steady constant in the line up from the late 90′s through the early 2000′s.
#9 Brian Sutter
Skating in at #9: Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter is one of six Sutter Brothers and the only one to have had his jersey retired by a team.
Sutter was drafted in the second round of the 1976 Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues. Sutter would be with the organization for the next 16 years and it would be a very fruitful union.
In his playing career, Sutter was a threat in every zone of the rink. Not only was he a goal scorer, he had great vision allowing him to find players wide open for goals and he also wasn’t afraid to get physical either.
Sutter was a three time NHL All-Star for the Blues in 1982, 1983, and 1985. He was the Blues captain for the final nine years of his career.
A nagging back injury led to Sutter’s early retirement after the 1988 season but he wouldn’t go very far from the team as he was almost immediately named the team’s head coach.
He led the team to the playoffs in each of his four seasons behind the bench, losing in the second round in his first three seasons and the first round in his final season. In 1991, Sutter won the Jack Adams Trophy for the leagues top coach as he led the Blues to a 47-22-11 record and 105 points.
Sutter left for Boston following the 1992 season and enjoyed his best regular season coaching only to lose in the first round of the playoffs. Sutter would coach in Boston, Calgary and Chicago until 2004.
Sutter sits in the top three in most of the categories in Blues history. He is third in Points with 636, goals with 303, assists with 333, power play goals with 107 and tied for third in hat tricks with seven. He is second in games played with 779 and his 1786 penalty minutes are the most in Blues history, ahead of pugilists Kelly Chase and Tony Twist.
All in all Brian Sutter was the consummate St. Louis Blue, his number 11 jersey is retired along side greats Brett Hull and Al MacInnis.
#8 Keith Tkachuk
Barging his way to #8: Keith Tkachuk
Keith Tkachuk was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets and started his career in 1992. He would play in Winnipeg/Phoenix for the next ten years and would wind up second in team history in goals and first in penalty minutes.
The Coyotes traded Tkachuk to the Blues in 2001 for Ladislav Nagy, Michal Handzus, Jeff Taffe and a first round pick. This move would provide immediate dividends as Walt would net six goals in the final 12 games of the season and help lead the Blues to the Conference Finals against Colorado.
Tkachuk quietly put up big numbers for the Blues in his stint with the team. His 208 goals ranks 5th on the Blues all time list while his 96 power play goals put him in 4th.
Tkachuk played for the Blues from 2001 to 2010 except for a brief stint in 2007 when the Blues traded him to Atlanta for Glen Metropolit, a 2007 first round pick, 2007 second round pick and a 2008 third round pick. For an aging power forward in the new NHL, this was a huge haul for the team.
Tkachuk wound up returning to the Blues the following season for a conditional 4th round pick and he would end his career with the Blues.
On April 6, 2008, Big Walt scored his 500th career NHL goal, only the fourth American born player to accomplish the feat. The other three being Joe Mullen (former Blue), Jeremy Roenick and Mike Modano.
Tkachuk would reach 1,000 points on November 30, 2008 by scoring his 511th goal in a non televised game against Atlanta.
Keith Tkachuk will go down as one of the great American born hockey players in NHL history and will be in the hearts of all Blues fans forever. Tkachuk is a part investor in the KFNS radio station and still lives in St. Louis.
#7 The Plagers
Defending the #7 spot: Barclay and Bobby Plager
The St. Louis Blues have had a long list of storied defensmen in their history but none have had as big of an impact on not only the team but the city then Barclay and Bobby Plager.
The Plagers arrived in St. Louis in two separate trades with the New York Rangers in 1967. Barclay was part of the Red Berenson deal while Bobby was part of a deal that sent defensemen Rod Seiling back to New York after the Blues claimed him on waivers.
The Plagers would team up with Doug Harvey, Al Arbour and Noel Picard to make up one of the stingiest defensive cores the league has ever seen. The Blues would rank in the top three of fewest goals allowed in 1969, 1970 and 1971.
Barclay Plager was named the Blues second team captain and would have the second longest tenure as captain in Blues history behind only Brain Sutter. Bobby would become a local legend with his team play and signature hip checks and the two would combine for almost 2,000 penalty minutes in their careers.
Barclay would finish his career as the player coach of the Blues Kansas City CHL team in 1977 and would lead his team to the finals. After retiring, Barclay was named the Blues head coach succeeding Leo Boivin but would endure the worst season in franchise history and would be relieved of his duties at the end of the season.
After stepping down as coach, it was discovered that Barclay had a brain tumor, which was causing him to have dizzy spells and had been attributed to an old head injury. In 1981 the Blues brought him back as an assistant coach and he held that position until his death in 1988.
On March 24th, 1981 the Blues retired Barclay’s #8 jersey against the Islanders and it is one of only six retired jersey’s for the Blues. Barclay would succumb to cancer on February 6th, 1988.
Bobby would play ten seasons in St. Louis but that was not the end of his time with the team. Bobby has been associated with the Blues for over 44 years and has performed almost every task a person can in an NHL organization.
Bobby is credited with developing the process of advance scouting, he has served as head coach of the Blues and its minor league affiliates, and currently holds the position of Vice President of Player Development.
Bobby was and is a fan favorite and can be heard on radio broadcasts, seen at practices or at his restaurant and is never shy about giving autographs and talking Blues hockey.
The Plagers were exactly what the blue collar city of St. Louis needed its defensemen to be in the early days and this town has never forgotten that.
While not prolific goal scorers, these two men helped form the identity of the early Blues teams and that tradition has held through out the years as players like Al MacInnis, Chris Pronger, Scott Stevens and Guy Lapointe have put on the Blue Note and wore it proudly because of players like the Plagers.
#6 Joe Mullen
Coming in at #6: Joe Mullen
The St. Louis Blues got on the ground floor of Joe Mullen’s career by signing him away from the opportunity to play for the 1980 US Olympic team. Mullen was coveted by Herb Brooks for the team but due to Mullen’s fathers health he chose the salary over the chance to play in the Olympics.
Mullen would spend his first two years in the CHL playing for the Salt Lake Golden Eagles and would claim the Rookie of the Year award in 1980-81. He would appear in one Stanley Cup playoff game for the Blues that year but would start the next season back in the minors.
In his first full season with St. Louis, Mullen would record 59 points in just 45 games. Over the next four years Mullen would notch 151 goals and 184 assists, including 50 power play goals. Those power play goals rank him tenth in Blues history even now.
Mullen was traded to the Calgary Flames in 1986 with Terry Johnson and Rik Wilson for Eddy Beers, Charles Bourgeois and Gino Cavallini and would go on to have a superstar career. He became the second American born player to score 500 goals in his career behind another Blue, Brett Hull.
Mullen would finish his career with 502 goals and 561 assists and was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.
While most of his success came away from the Blues, Mullen found his scoring touch with St. Louis and that is good enough to place him on my list.
#5 Mike Liut
Backstopping the top five: #5 Mike Liut
The Blues have had a great history with goaltenders but one man that seems to get forgotten lately is arguably the best the team has ever had.
Mike Liut was drafted by the Blues in 1976 but Liut chose to play in the WHA right out of college. After the WHA/NHL merger two years later, the Blues reclaimed Liut’s rights and he finally had the Blue Note on his jersey.
In his first two seasons in St. Louis, Liut won 71 games and lost only 37. In the 1980-81 season, Liut went 33-14-13 and placed second in the Hart Trophy race behind Wayne Gretzky. Liut was awarded the Lester B Pearson Trophy as the MVP as voted on by the players that same season.
Liut played six seasons in St. Louis and still ranks first in games played, 147; wins, 151; and minutes played, 20,010. Liut was a work horse for the Blues and yet never seemed to get the credit he deserved.
Liut was never able to win a Stanley Cup but continued to find success in Hartford after he was traded to the Whalers in a salary dump.
As it seems like with almost every team in Blues history, the year after Liut left was a season that they would probably have won the Cup if they had Liut in goal.
Liut will probably always be the forgotten goaltender in Blues history but he should go down as one of the best this team has ever had.
#4 Al “Chopper” MacInnis
Blasting his way to #4: Al MacInnis
Al MacInnis spent 11 seasons with the Calgary Flames before joining the St. Louis Blues in 1994. MacInnis left the Flames as one of their leading scorers and best defensemen.
But after five years of little to no playoff success, the Flames and MacInnis decided to part ways. MacInnis signed an offer sheet with the Blues and when the Flames failed to match it, the Blues sent Phil Housley and two second round picks to Calgary as compensation.
His first season in St. Louis was less than ideal, though, as MacInnis battled injuries to his shoulder and pneumonia and was limited to 32 games that season.
MacInnis returned to play a full season the following year and put up 61 points that season, his third highest total in St. Louis. MacInnis would go on to put up 452 points in his ten seasons with the Blues, which places him sixth in team history.
On April 7, 1998 against rival Detroit, MacInnis scored his 1,000th point in his career. MacInnis would also win the Norris Trophy that season as the top defensemen in the league. MacInnis had faced many years of disappointment when it came to that trophy as he was up against players like Nik Lidstrom, Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Chris Chelios, Rob Blake and Brian Leetch.
Early in the 2000 season, Al put up four assists in a game against Nashville to set the Blues franchise record for scoring by defensemen.
Unfortunately, due to an eye injury and the NHL lockout, MacInnis was forced to retire from the game he loved. At the time of his retirement, MacInnis was ranked third all time in goals, assists, and points by a defensemen.
Al stayed on with the Blues after the lockout in the marketing and hockey operations department and has since been promoted to Vice President of Hockey Operations.
The Blues retired Al’s #2 jersey on April 9th, 2006 and in 2007 Al got the call to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
MacInnis was known for his heavy accurate shot and he won multiple Hardest Shot competitions at the All Star Game. There are many instances of how hard his shot was including a game against St. Louis where he split the mask of goalie Mike Liut(the puck also went).
MacInnis’s shot was one of the most feared in the game but his game play and vision won him the respect of players league wide.
Al had two great careers, one in Calgary and one in St. Louis, and fans should count themselves lucky to have seen such a gentlemen play this game.
#3 Garry Unger
We have reached the top 3 players in Blues history and sliding into #3: Garry Unger
Garry Unger was never projected to be an NHL superstar but opportunities would thrust him into that role. Unger began his career in Toronto but only played in 15 games with the Leafs before being dealt to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings, at the time, were in a downward spiral and were quickly falling behind the other Original Six teams in popularity. The addition of Unger helped to get them back onto the right path and his 42 goal season in 1969 showed what could be in store for the future.
But when Detroit coach Ned Harkness required all his players to get crew cuts, Unger refused to cut his long blonde locks. This led to a falling out with the coach and in the 1970-71 season Unger was traded to the St. Louis Blues for another superstar in Red Berenson.
This trade would haunt the Wings for many years as Berenson was near the end of his illustrious career and Unger was just getting ready to break out.
Over the next eight seasons in St. Louis, Unger would be the offensive face of the Blues. He would never score under 30 goals in his time in St. Louis and his best season came in 1975 when he would put up 39 goals and 44 assists.
Unger would never miss a game in St. Louis, playing in 662 games, and that would add to his then record 914 consecutive games played streak. That record would later be passed by Doug Jarvis but is still the second longest streak in NHL history.
Near the end of his career, Unger was traded to the Atlanta Flames and would play parts of three seasons in Edmonton mentoring the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier but would never come close to accomplishing the points he put up in St. Louis.
Unger ranks in the top five in many categories in Blues team history including 4th in points with 575, 4th in goals with 292 and 3rd in game winning goals with 40.
Garry Unger was the second true superstar in Blues history and he would help pave the way for other stars in St. Louis and in the league.
#2 Bernie Federko
At #2: Bernie Federko
The top two players in Blues history was a toss up as both #1 and #2 are seemingly interchangeable. When it came down to it, influence over the city won out and that's why Bernie is #2.
Federko was a Blues draft pick in the 1976 Amateur Draft and would start his career in Kansas City. Mid way through his first season, he was called up to play in 31 games for the Blues. He would cement his status early on as in those 31 games Bernie would net three of his 11 career hat tricks.
The 1978-79 season would make Federko as bonafide star as he would put up 95 points. Over the next eight seasons he would not score less then 90 points in a season and would have four seasons of over 100 points.
Federko was the first player in NHL history with 50+ assists a season for 10 straight seasons.
Playing in the same era as Wayne Gretzky, though, made it tough for Bernie to become a regular name in hockey fan’s favorites. In 1986 GOAL Magazine named Federko the Most Overlooked Talent in Hockey. This wouldn’t deter him from putting up Hall of Fame numbers though.
Federko’s best season came in 1983-84 when he put up 41 goals and 66 assists en route to a 107 point season. It was the second of three consecutive 100 point seasons. On March 19th, 1988 Bernie would notch is 1,000th career NHL point.
Following a down year in 1988-89 the Blues traded Federko along with Tony McKegney to the Detroit Red Wings for Paul MacLean and future star Adam Oates. Bernie would play one more season but he would have his lowest out put since his rookie year.
Federko retired after the 1989-90 season playing exactly 1,000 career games. He would have his #24 jersey retired on March 16th, 1991 and Bernie entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002 alongside Clark Gilles and Rod Langway.
Bernie is the Blues career leader in games played with 927, points with 1,073 and assists with 721. He is second in goals with 352 and power play goals with 116.
Federko is currently an ice level anaylst for the Blues during their telecasts. Like Bobby Plager, Bernie Federko is one of the instantly recognizable athletes connected to the St. Louis Blues and will be a part of this organization for as long as he wants.
#1 The Golden Brett
We have reached the top spot on our list and its almost no surprise as to who sits at the top.
At #1: Brett Hull aka “The Golden Brett”
Hull was drafted in 1986 by the Calgary Flames but played the next two years at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Hull wore out his welcome in Calgary and with Terry Crisp very quickly, though, as the Flames traded him to St. Louis in 1988.
Hull and Steve Bozak were traded to the Blues for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley in a move that the Flames would see as a Cup Winning move. Wamsley and Ramage helped the Flames to the 1989 Cup but Hull would have a long and storied career as well.
In 1990-91, Hull would have his best season as he would start the year off by scoring 50 goals in his first 49 games. He would finish with 86 goals that year en route to the Hart Trophy as the league MVP. Hull would score 50 in 50 the following season as well, becoming only the second player to reach that feat twice or more, the other was Wayne Gretzky.
Over the next 11 seasons Hull would amass 527 goals as a Blue which ranks him first in team history. Hull would pot his 500th career goal on December 22nd, 1996 against the LA Kings with the 500th being the last goal of a hat trick. Hull had 27 hat tricks as a Blue which also puts him first in team history.
Hull was wildly popular in St. Louis and that is evidence of the arena that was built in St. Louis in 1996. The Blues would probably have been moved if not for Brett Hull. The arena has been dubbed the Barn that Hull Built and the street running in front of it has been renamed Brett Hull Way. Hull also has a statute gracing the entrance of the arena, alongside other Blues greats Bernie Federko and Al MacInnis.
Hull would go on to win Stanley Cups in Dallas and Detroit but Hull has always said he would have loved to have brought a Cup to St. Louis. Hull’s iconic #16 jersey was retired by the Blues in December of 2006.
Three years later Hull was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame with former teammates Steve Yzerman and Luc Robitaille, and defensemen Brian Leetch.
Hull currently works in the Dallas Stars organization, including a stint as the co-GM. He has returned many times to the city that worshipped him and is co-owner of the local St. Louis Bandits.
Brett Hull was not only a superstar in St. Louis but he was also an ambassador for the team and the city. Without Hull, St. Louis may not be a hockey city on the NHL’s radar. Hull helped save hockey in this town and also helped make St. Louis a hockey hot bed.
This completes our list of the Top 25 most influential players in St. Louis Blues history. This list, like all lists, is open for debate and can and will change over the years.