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An Early Guess at the Blues’ 23-Man Roster in 2014-15


Under normal circumstances, it would be way too early to even try to take a guess at an NHL team’s regular season roster composition after the first day of free agency. But St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said after Tuesday’s acquisitions of centers Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera that his roster is “completed as of now”. So we’ll take Armstrong at his word and try to predict what the best roster is for the Blues heading into next season:

FORWARDS 

Alexander Steen -Paul Stastny- David Backes

Jaden Schwartz -Jori Lehtera- Vladimir Tarasenko

Patrik Berglund -Vladimir Sobotka- T.J. Oshie

Magnus Paajarvi -Maxim Lapierre- Ryan Reaves

Extra Forwards: Joakim Lindstrom, Chris Porter

The toughest decision with this process is leaving 21-year-old winger Dmitrij Jaskin off the opening roster. Though Armstrong had previously said that Jaskin would have a “spot to lose” in the 2014-15 lineup, the retention of Berglund and the additions of Stastny and Lehtera make it extremely difficult for Jaskin to find a spot. Ultimately, it boils down to a competition between Jaskin and players like Reaves and Paajarvi. Paajarvi’s older and more experienced, and Reaves recently signed a new contract that pays him over $1 million per year. It doesn’t make sense to have either of those guys sitting in the press box night after night.

Jaskin could conceivably take the spot of Lindstrom or Porter, but both of them are on one-way contracts, meaning it makes a lot more financial sense to have Jaskin playing consistently in the minors while those two provide insurance in the NHL, rather than having Jaskin waste away and having to pay one of the veterans an NHL salary in the minors.

DEFENSEMEN

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk

Carl Gunnarsson-Ian Cole

Extra Defenseman: Jordan Leopold

There’s not too much suspense in this group. The Blues have seven NHL-caliber D-men under contract, and they’ve stated that they want Cole to have a legitimate shot as one of the top six defensemen. Therefore, Leopold is the only guy who fits in the seventh spot. Things could be different near the start of the season if Gunnarsson’s recovery from hip surgery takes longer than expected.

 

GOALTENDERS

Jake Allen, Brian Elliott

These two will battle for the bulk of the starting time, and it’s likely that they’ll both get significant opportunities during 2014-15. The two-goalie system that the Blues employed over the past several years with Jaroslav Halak and Elliott always ran smoothly, and there’s no reason to think that it can’t with Elliott and Allen.

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  • bluenotebacker

    I want to disagree with you about Jaskin, but I can’t. Your logic is sound. I look forward to seeing what kind of chemistry develops in camp, and if Hitch continues to see “twos” that stick together moreso than “threes” among the forwards.

    Lehtera *might* be a stretch as an immediate starter, with Berglund still on the roster, BUT Army and his scouts have said they feel he’s ready now, to step in and play at the NHL level, and I can and will continue to trust their judgement.

    Good projections, thanks for sharing

  • Dashley R

    I guess we will see how it works out. Personally, I think the 3rd and fourth line may end up looking a bit different. Lindstrom(A points leader in the SHL) could end up working his way up the ranks if he plays as well as he did in Europe. That is going to make everybody work even harder to keep their spot which I think is good for the team.
    Frank(Tarasenko) played with Lehtera in the KHL and his highlights are legit. His hockey IQ seems to be very high and that is something every team needs. First things first, lets get Schwartz and Sobi signed!