Predicting the Opening Night Lineup

Alright guys, it’s been two weeks since free agency opened up, and barring another D.A. stunner (I can only think of one long-shot of a possibility), I think it’s safe to say that we’re done making significant moves until at least training camp opens up. For that reason, I think it’s time to take a look at what we may see on October 4th when the Blues start the regular season against the Winnipeg Jets.

Perron – ROR – Tarasenko
Schwartz – Schenn – Maroon
Steen –  Bozak – Fabbri
Jaskin – Thomas – Barbashev

Yes I know some of you will disagree with this. “O’Reilly isn’t a true #1 Center” “Why would you split up Tarasenko, Schenn, and Schwartz?” “Where is Kyrou?”. That’s the best part about the offseason. It’s a time for wild speculation, even if it’s grossly different than someone else’s. This is my take.

 

To those who wonder why Rob Thomas would start on the fourth line:

This one is obvious. You went from zero depth at center, to one of the strongest teams up the middle in a matter of 9 hours. Don’t waste that. Let Thomas compete to move up to ranks, and eventually play alongside the top lines.

 

To those who wonder why Schenn isn’t staying as the first line Center:

I’m a big believer in the idea that lines don’t really matter. Whether you’re on the first line or the fourth, what matters is chemistry and production. For this reason I put Schenn and his good pal Schwartz on the second line, while giving ROR and Tarasenko “first line” status. In my opinion, these lines are directly interchangeable, which bodes well to the Blues ability to change the lineups as they see fit.

 

To those of you wondering why Perron is sitting on the first line:

Here’s a stat for you. David Perron was 9th last year in primary assists, and 21st league overall in even strength assists.

In other words, he is a playmaker when you give him the right guys. I can’t think of a better guy to do that with than Vladimir Tarasenko. Sure, Perron is not a 30 goal scorer, but he proved last year in Vegas that he can set up plays, and provide scoring chances among some of the best in the league. Set him up for success, and he will do everything in his power to succeed.

 

To those who wonder why Jordan Kyrou isn’t here:

I am as high on Jordan Kyrou as just about anybody. The kid is fast as lightning and has the stick handling to match. That being said, he is still a prospect, and while I completely believe we will see him at the Enterprise Center by the All-Star break, I don’t think Kyrou will open the season with the team.

 

In a nutshell:

Doug won the offseason. Here’s the proof.
IMG_6499

GAR = Goals above replacement

This team’s lineup looks wildly different than what it was when the season ended. Doug stuck to his word in saying that there would be changes. Adding some huge pieces up the middle, all while moving on from some of the older, and less reliable assets.

Come opening night, no matter who is playing on which line, and who they’re playing with, it’s my opinion that we’re in for a fun season with a team better prepared for the quest for the cup than we’ve seen in the past few years.

 

Thanks for reading,

Let’s Go Blues

 

 

 

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