The St. Louis Blues ended their 2010-2011 season with the same disappointment as last season. After making the playoffs in 2008, the Blues came up short for the second year in a row.
Even though the Blues are not playing in the postseason, there were still many things that happened this past season that Blues fans should be happy about.
This season's injury-plagued Blues finished in 11th place in the very tough Western Conference. A record of 38-33-11 and 87 points were not enough to make the post season, missing the playoffs by 10 points.
Let us now view the report card for the St. Louis Blues' 2010-2011 campaign.
After several years of people questioning the St. Louis Blues' offense, it appears they finally showed up. The Blues ranked 10th in the NHL in goals, 6th in the Western Conference, lighting the lamp 240 times. St. Louis averaged 2.9 goals per contest.
The offense was still able to produce even though injuries to key players like David Perron, TJ Oshie, and Andy McDonald missed several games due to injury.
The Blues offense was led by the 26-year-old David Backes. Backes led the team in goals (31) and points (62). He was helped out by the recently added Chris Stewart. Stewie ended the season scoring 15 goals and recording eight assists for St. Louis.
Patrik Berglund was another key player on the offensive side of the puck, scoring 22 goals and ending the season with 52 points.
The Blues has a very solid season on offense. Just think what the could have accomplished if Perron would have played more then 10 games and Oshie and McDonald stayed healthy.
Final Grade: B+
The St. Louis Blues' defense ranked 16th in the league, giving up 2.8 goals a game. The defense allowed 234 goals, one more then what they allowed when they made the postseason in 2009.
The defense went through a major change compared to how it started the season.
The Blues parted ways with their captain, Eric Brewer, and their former No. 1 overall pick, Erik Johnson. The Blues welcomed in Kevin Shattenkirk from Colorado and called up Ian Cole and Nikita Nikitin.
Solid defensive play from Alex Pietrengelo and Barrett Jackman should not go unnoticed. Pietrangelo especially, he scored 11 goals and recorded 32 assists to help on offense. He also finished the season with a plus-18 rating.
Giving up 234 goals, ranking 9th in the Western Conference, was too many and was the main reason the Blues could not grab one of the final playoff spots.
Final Grade: C+
The St. Louis Blues saw three different goaltenders this past season. Jaroslav Halak, Ty Conklin, and Ben Bishop were the men between the pipes.
Halak started the majority of the games, with 57 starts. Halak went 27-21-7, each of his seven losses past regulation time were in the shootouts. Halak ended with .910 save percentage and allowed 2.48 goals per game.
Ty Conklin ended the season with a 8-8-4 record. He finished with a below average .881 save percentage and gave on average 3.22 goals per game. Conklin, a free agent once the season ends, will most likely be out of St. Louis next season. His role of backup goaltender will be filled by the next man.
Ben Bishop, the 24 year old born and raised in St. Louis, ended the season playing in only seven games. He started five of them and ended the year with a 3-4-0 record. Bishop's save percentage was .899 and he gave up on average 2.76 goals a game.
The goaltending of the St. Louis Blues was inconsistent this season. Halak struggled with injury and Conklin and Bishop simply did not step up.
Final Grade: C
Just like last season, the power play of the St. Louis Blues was very inconsistent.
The Blues ended the year with the the 10th best power play in the league. They scored 18.6 percent of the time when they had a man advantage. Finishing with the 10th best power play in the league sounds pretty good. But there were a ton of moments in the season where the Blues struggled to possess the puck and create opportunities to score goals.
Chris Stewart scored seven power play goals in 26 games for the Blues, finishing with the second most power play goals on the team. Patrik Berglund led St. Louis with eight goals on the power play and Matt D'Agostini tallied six-man advantage goals.
Final Grade: C+
The Blues' penalty kill may have been the worst part of 2010-2011 season.
St. Louis only killed 81.7 percent of penalties. They ranked 18th in the NHL in this category.
In order to find success in the regular season and finish the season with a playoff spot, teams must have a very solid penalty kill. This season, the Blues failed to that and resulted in not making the playoffs for a second straight season.
Final Grade: C-
In his first full season as a head coach in the NHL, 40 year old Davis Payne finished with a 38-33-11 record and a total of 87 points.
Payne's overall record as a head coach is 61-48-15. He has finished fourth in the powerful Central Division in each of the two seasons.
Davis Payne is currently the youngest active head coach in the NHL.
With another solid year, but just missing out on the playoffs again, the Blues and their head coach look very promising.
Final Grade: B
The St. Louis Blues were one of the busier teams around the February 28 deadline.
The first major trade happened on February 18. The St. Louis Blues traded their captain to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the rights to defenseman Brock Beukeboom and a 2011 third round pick. St. Louis fans, along with myself, were puzzled because they felt they did not get enough in return for the verteran defenseman.
Then, a day later, the Blues and the Avalanche made arguably the biggest blockbuster move of the season. The St. Louis Blues traded their first round pick, forward Jay McClement, and former number one overall pick Eric Johnson to Colorado and received power forward Chris Stewart, youngster Kevin Shattenkirk, and a second round pick. Stewart and Shattenkirk bursted on the scene quickly and became favorites of Blues fans all around.
On deadline day, the Blues made one final trade. They traded forward Brad Winchester to Anaheim for a third round pick.
The Blues parted ways with four players and received two in return. But the production of both Stewart and Shattenkirk made the Blues winners of the trades they participated in. Shattenkirk is 22 years old and a fine young defenseman that can contribute offensively. Stewart is 23 years old and is one of the bright young stars in the NHL.
Final Grade: A
The St. Louis Blues have some of the best fans in hockey. This season, Blues fans packed the Scottrade Center each game. The Scottrade Center sold out all 41 home games this season.
Whether their fans come to see Blues hockey, Louie the mascot, or the fantastic singing of Charles Glenn, St. Louis fans love their Blues.
Final Grade: A+