The St. Louis Blues’ lineup will look quite different this season than it did in 2015-16.
While the St. Louis Blues obviously expect to compete this season as head coach Ken Hitchcock makes one last run at a Stanley Cup before his scheduled retirement, it’s safe to say that the organization will be operating with a figurative “open while remodeling” sign this year. They’ve got a great core of players 26 years of age or younger in Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Robby Fabbri, Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko, and Jake Allen. For the second straight season, though, their longest-tenured player walked away in free agency. After Barret Jackman last year, it was David Backes–their captain for the past five seasons–who departed to sign with the Boston Bruins in July. Backes’s playing style very closely embodied the style that the Blues strived to play under Hitchcock, but without him, the Blues will begin shifting towards a more modern, skill-based playing style.
It’s anyone’s guess as to how the adjustment in style will affect the Blues, but significant lineup changes can be expected, whether it’s just shuffling lines or actually swapping out personnel. As training camp gets underway on Friday, we took an early guess at what the Blues’ lineup might look like come October: