Thank goodness, seven days till we finally get to watching some hockey. With the season right around the corner its time to look at who will be playing where and why.
The Blues have two scoring lines, but as of right now neither have claimed the role of first line.
Based on their performance in the preseasonthe first look on the first line will go to Lee Stempniak, Andy Mcdonald, and Brad Boyes. In the preseason this line has looked special with Andy Mcdonald showing he was well worth last season's trade. Lee Stempniak should be able to have a breakout year if this line stays together with most people focusing on Brad Boyes after his 40 goal season.
The second line will feature youth with some nice veteran presence as Patrick Berglund will center Keith Tkachuk and Paul Kariya. This line could be very successful, with a lot of it depending on Tkachuk's play. If he can have another strong year and lead some defenders away from Berglund, he should be able to play make and create Kariya some chances. I think Kariya will show he was worth the money this year, I project him to put up 30 goals this year.
Look out for the third line of the Blues this year. Rookie T.J. Oshie will center David Backes and David Perron. This is almost a picture perfect checking line. Oshie and Backes are great hitters with a nice scoring touch. Look for Perron to really flourish on this line, with his proven ability to stick handle he should be able to create some chances for Oshie and Backes in front of the net.
The fourth line will be your typical line of enforcers. Jay McClement will center D.J. King and a mixture of Yan Statsny and Cam Janssen. Expect Janseen to play a lot against rivals and other games that might get out of hand. Don't expect anything special from this line other then some brawls by King and occasional goal.
The defense will be led by captain Eric Brewer and returnees Barrett Jackman, Jay Mckee, and last year's breakout, Steve Wagner.
The back end took a big blow last week when it was announced Erik Johnson would be for the year with a torn ACL and MCL. Expect Roman Polak to make the team and then after that it's up for grabs. Alex Pietrangelo has a good chance of making the team now that Johnson is done for the year. If he does make the team don't expect him to start every game.
The first pairing will be Eric Brewer and either StevProxy-Connection: keep-alive Cache-Control: max-age=0 Wagner or Roman Polak. Wagner has a good hockey sense and a nice ability to jump start the offense with a long pass or carrying the puck.
The second pairing will consist of Barrett Jackman and Jay Mckee. They will be thrown against the opposing teams top line a lot. They are both very defensive minded and should be very solid this year. Don't expect much offense from either player with Jay Mckee showing last year he is definitely the best skater on the team.
The third pairing is where it gets really interesting: Expect to see Roman Polak, Jonas Junland, and Alex Pietrangelo in this situation. The coaching staff will try their hardest to keep this pairing up against the opposing teams checking and fourth lines.
Goaltending should be a source of the strength Blues this year. With off-season pick up Chris Mason coming in, the Blues should be able to give Manny Legace the time off he needs to keep him healthy. If Manny can find a way to stay healthy the Blues should be a solid team this year. If an injury happens to come up, expect to see youngster Marek Schwartz up from Peoria.
The Blues should be a lot better team this year with younger players playing a key role on this team. If the Blues youngsters can live up to their hype; they should be able to score a lot more goals and be more succesful as a team.