The 2019 season was certainly special for the St. Louis Blues, as they defeated the Boston Bruins in 7-games and took home the Stanley Cup for the first time in the franchise history. Unfortunately, 2020 didn’t go as well for them. Playing in the playoff bubble in Edmonton, the Blues fell to the underdog Vancouver Canucks in the first round in 6-games. An abrupt ending to what many expected to be a well-fought title defense.
The Blues New Look
The Blues saw some changes during the offseason, including the departure of their captain Alex Pietrangelo who signed with the Golden Knights. However, St. Louis added free-agent Torey Krug who has filled the gap.
The team also saw the midseason return of Vladimir Tarasenko, who missed all but 10 of their 71 regular-season games last season and the first 20 games of this season and has got predictable production from forwards Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Brayden Schenn. Free-agent Mike Hoffman has also contributed.
Qualifying For The Playoffs
Unless some unforeseen disaster strikes St. Louis in the last two weeks of the season, the Blues should play into their 9th playoff birth in the last 10-years.
Coming off a big division win against the Minnesota Wild last night, the Blues have 9-games remaining on their schedule. Heading into the weekend, St. Louis leads the Arizona Coyotes by 4-points with 3-games in hand. Depending on how the chips fall, the team could lock up a playoff birth as early as Friday of next week.
Moving up in the division may prove tougher. St. Louis still has a game in hand, and 4-games against rival Minnesota where they can make up 8-standings-points head to head, but the Wild would have to fall flat on their faces with a 14 point lead heading into the weekend. Should the standings remain the same, the Blues will meet the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round of the playoffs.
Can St. Louis Get Past The Big Dogs
In the uber-competitive Western Division, one question exists. Can St. Louis get past the big dogs in their own division. The Blues opened the season at +2000 to win the 2021 Stanley Cup. Currently Novibet Sports +2500 underdogs, far behind division rival Colorado Avalanche who are the cup favorites at +450. The Golden Knights are +550 who along with the returning champion Tampa Bay Lightning +750, round out the top three favorites.
However, there is some logic to squaring up against the top-seeded teams early in the playoffs. Should the Blues manage to knock off Colorado or Vegas in the first round, they’d see their cup chances rise exponentially. Moreso if they can somehow find a way out of the Western Division playoffs and into the quarter-final round.
The Blues are currently healthy, have a somewhat light schedule to end the season, and have not yet clinched a playoff spot. There may be a good value at +2500 right now, as that number only gets shorter as they advance towards a playoff birth.