The St. Louis Blues hired Ken Hitchcock as the team’s head coach prior to the 2011-12 season and the team instantly improved. The team improved so much that it went from being an 11th place team the season prior to a second place team in the Western Conference that season. But St. Louis just could not generate the offense it needed to win playoff games and the team fell short of its goals. In the shortened 2012-13 season, the Blues struggled and, once again, could not score goals on a consistent basis. The team managed to pick up defenseman Jay Bouwmeester at the trade deadline, but there are more moves St. Louis needs in order to make a serious run at a Stanley Cup title.
2014 Stanley Cup Odds: 12/1
Notable Change #1: Signing Derek Roy.
Former Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks forward Derek Roy is winding down his career, but he still has something to offer a team like St. Louis that needs offense. The Blues are kicking the tires on Roy as they signed him to a one-year deal. When Roy is on, he is a forward who can put points on the board. But Roy has injury issues that have plagued him since his last season with the Sabres. Roy was a bust in Vancouver, but the Blues are hoping that he still has something to offer in 2013-14.
Notable Change #2: Signing Maxim Lapierre.
Center Maxim Lapierre is a gritty forward who racks up a lot more penalty minutes than he does points. With the Vancouver Canucks, Lapierre was unable to put the puck in the net enough to fit into Vancouver’s future plans. But with a team like St. Louis, Lapierre could be just what the doctor ordered. The Blues get a lot of scoring from their defensemen, and Lapierre can cause plenty of commotion in front of the opposition net and help those defensemen to rack up points that can lead to wins. Lapierre’s play is consistent in the regular season and the playoffs, which is something that the Blues desperately need.
Notable Change #3: Trading for Magnus Paajarvi.
The Blues did not give up much at all to bring in young forward Magnus Paajarvi from the Edmonton Oilers, which was a surprise among NHL insiders. Paajarvi has the potential to be a consistent 20 to 30-goal scorer and he has the right attitude to be a pain in the opposition’s side. His plus/minus rating has improved drastically since his rookie year, which shows that he is learning how to play the NHL game. The Blues may have picked up a steal with this trade, but only time will tell. Paajarvi could also be another forward that has problems scoring goals consistently on a team that already has plenty of forwards with that issue.
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