There comes a time every season where St. Louis Blues fans realize their team isn’t going to win the Stanley Cup. It’s an unfortunate tradition every Blues fan has known since the team’s first season in 1967-68.
Have we reached that point in 2018-19? If not, we’re certainly close.
Following their embarrassing 6-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night, the Blues fell to 9-13-3 on the year. Their 21 points in 25 games is good for the 30th spot in the NHL, barely edging out the league-worst LA Kings who have 19 points in 26 games.
Injuries have suddenly become a large part of the recent conversation as Alex Pietrangelo, Alexander Steen and Robby Fabbri are all dealing with ailments. There’s no question that these injuries can and will stretch the team thin, but let’s not be too hasty to forgive all of the poor play that occurred while a majority of the roster was healthy.
The Blues aren’t particularly good in any area of the ice. They’re averaging 30.6 shots per game (21st in the NHL) and allowing 31.5 shots per game (18th in the NHL). Special teams have been a bit of a bright spot as the team is ninth on the power play (converting at 23.8%) and the penalty kill is eighth (81.7%). In terms of pure 5-on-5 play, the Blues are maintaining an 8.1 shooting percentage (16th in the NHL). The 5-on-5 save percentage is a much larger area of concern as the Blues are 30th in the NHL with a .899 save percentage. Goaltending has been scrutinized but the overall defending – from the forwards all the way back down to the goalies – hasn’t been good enough.
Summarized, the Blues are mostly mediocre when examining their team stats and are borderline terrible when it comes to preventing 5-on-5 offense. None of the stats above scream “I’m a contender!” to the other teams in the NHL.
Now, the Blues could shock everyone and go on some crazy run where they fly up the league’s standings. They could make us all look back at this article and wonder how we could have all been so wrong. Or, and perhaps more realistically, they’ll continue to play at this low level.
How do they turn this around?
That might be the most frustrating question that doesn’t have a clear answer. On paper, the Blues should be better than they are. Maybe not elite but better than 30th in the NHL. They should be able to put up some consistent efforts that would result in a decent winning streak. They should be able to give fans a reason to watch.
Unfortunately, that just hasn’t been the case. The effort isn’t there, the passion isn’t there and the wins definitely are not there. Maybe it’s time to admit the 2018-19 Blues were over hyped and just aren’t very good?