This year marks 50 years since St. Louis was awarded an NHL franchise. Who are the 50 most outstanding players to see action for that franchise?
Though the St. Louis Blues didn’t actually play a game until October of 1967, the franchise is celebrating the 2016-17 campaign as its 50th anniversary season, all centered around January’s Winter Classic, which will bring some of the most beloved players in franchise history back to the ice for an alumni game at Busch Stadium on December 31.
With this in mind, Blues nostalgia has been running rampant for most fans of the organization as of late. 50th anniversaries are always a good opportunity to look back on the history of an organization, so we thought it’d be an appropriate time to assemble a list of the 50 most outstanding (not most talented, or most beloved, or best-performing, but most outstanding) Blues players in franchise history.
While we definitely don’t want to rely solely on nostalgia for these rankings, we also didn’t want to judge them strictly on statistics, as anyone who studies NHL records for a while can understand that it was much easier for players to put up points in certain eras, such as the 1980s and early 1990s, than it was in eras such as the late 1960s and early 2000s. The main goal was to eliminate anti-recency bias–the common tendency among sports fans to subconsciously think that because, say, Rob Ramage played much longer ago than, for example, Kevin Shattenkirk, he must have been much better–while also recognizing the relative ease and difficulty that players faced based on the era they played in.
Thus, to assemble this list, we primarily took into account a player’s raw production, then judged how well it stood up against the test of time based on the era that he played in. Smaller adjustments were made for the player’s likability and popularity among the fanbase, as well as the number of seasons that he played with the Blues.
There were quite a few players who were extremely tough cuts; there were 35 players who went through the grading process and didn’t crack the top 50, and particularly among players 50-60, there are some names that are really unfortunate omissions. As always, feel free to tweet at us and state your case if your favorite player didn’t make the list.
Without further ado, let’s get the countdown started with a player who never really filled up the scoresheet, but wore the Blue Note for a very long time while making contributions to some of the best teams in franchise history: