Blues End-of-Season Award Predictions

The Blues are primed to make a run back into the playoffs this season. With a deeper roster down the middle and a solid core of defensemen, this team has very few holes. The offense should be able to produce at a high rate, and the defense should be able to stymie opposing offenses. This bodes well for winning a lot of games and making it to the playoffs once again. Assuming the Blues ride off into the sunset this season with their first Cup in franchise history, let’s look into the crystal ball and predict the winners of all the Blues’ team awards at the end of the season.

Top Scorer – Points (Art Ross)

Jaden Schwartz

Schwartz-Art-Ross

When Schwartz went down with a fractured ankle last December, he was scoring at better than a point per game pace. He had 35 points in 30 games (14 G, 21 A). That rate equates to a 95 point season, good for 6th in the NHL and ahead of regular season MVP Taylor Hall (93 points). Outside of St. Louis, most hockey fans don’t realize just how talented Schwartz is. Many forget he was actually drafted BEFORE Tarasenko in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The Blues selected Schwartz with the 14th pick and Tarasenko at 16. Schwartz is good, and last year showed he has the capability to be the best player on the team, and one of the best in the NHL. Look for the hard-working winger to be in the top 15 in points next season.

Predicted season stats:

  • Goals: 31
  • Assists: 59
  • Points: 90

 

Best Defensive Forward (Selke)

Ryan O’Reilly

oreilly-selke

All this guy does is put up points (which is impressive given he played in Buffalo) and win faceoffs. Back in the 2016-17 season, he was also only a -1 in 72 games played… IN BUFFALO! How he was only on the ice for one more goal against at even strength than goal for I have no idea. That is quite the feat. It shows that O’Reilly plays the game from the defensive zone out. He doesn’t cheat the game. NHL writers seem to sense that as well, as he has finished 11th in the Selke voting in back-to-back seasons. O’Reilly will hopefully bring that same “defense first” mindset to the Blues. Look for him to win the key defensive zone faceoff against John Tavares in June when the Blues beat the Leafs in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Predicted season stats:

  • Points: 65
  • +/-: +20
  • FO%: 59.0

 

Best Defenseman (Norris)

Alex Pietrangelo

petro-norris

I would expect nothing less from Pietrangelo than to be the best defenseman on the team. He does it all. He can eat minutes on even strength, play on the penalty kill, play on the power play, score goals, pass the puck, box out in front, play in the corners, block shots, etc. He is what you look for in a cornerstone defenseman and should be in the running again this season for the Norris as the NHL’s best blue liner.

Predicted season stats:

  • Points: 60
  • Average Time On Ice: 25 minutes
  • +/-: +10

 

Best Sportsmanship (Byng)

Vladimir Tarasenko

tarasenko-byng

Tarasenko is one of the most humble superstars in the NHL. Anytime he is asked about his one-ice performance he always deflects to his teammates. That humility and sportsmanship reflects on the ice too. He is hardly ever in the box. Tarasenko never puts the team in a bad spot by taking a dumb penalty. He’s smart and wins in other ways. He was the runner-up for the Lady Byng trophy in 2016-17 and I would expect him to continue to exemplify class and sportsmanship this coming season.

Predicted season stats:

  • PIM: 14
  • Russian soft smiles: 207

 

Most Perseverance (Masterson)

Robby Fabbri

fabbri-masterson

Nothing says perseverance like overcoming back-to-back ACL surgeries to have the best season of your career. All he needs is 38 points to do it. Fabbri has put in an absurd amount of effort to come back from his gruesome injury, and I know I speak for all Blues fans when I say it would be awesome if he came back stronger than ever. Fabbri is going to score 15 goals this season. Plus, Edmundson will get his buddy back!

Predicted season stats:

  • Goals: 15
  • Assists: 30
  • Points: 45

 

Rookie of the Year (Calder)

Robert Thomas

thomas-calder

The leader of the Big 3, Robert Thomas is positioned well to make the roster opening night and I don’t see him losing his spot ever again. Thomas is a phenomenal two-way center prospect and should make an immediate impact on the team. His game is well-rounded and he looks ready for the NHL. Thomas shredded the OHL to pieces in the playoffs this past spring, putting up 32 points (12 G, 20 A) and capturing not only the OHL title but also playoff MVP. Look for Thomas to become at least a third line center by the end of the season and usher in the new wave of Blues top-tier talent.

Predicted season stats:

  • Goals: 15
  • Assists: 30
  • Points: 45

 

Best Goalie (Vezina)

Jake Allen

allen-vezina

If the Blues are going to return to the playoffs this season they need Jake to play like The Snake. In fact, they probably only need him to be average to make it. The magic number is a .910 save percentage. Anything above that and the Blues are in for sure due to their expected high-octane offense and solid defense. Stop rooting for Ville Husso to start. If Husso is in the net that means the Blues aren’t anywhere near the playoffs. Jake Allen is going to have a bounce back season and I expect him to be a top 12 goalie in the league. Book it.

Predicted season stats:

  • GP: 65
  • W: 42
  • SV%: .920
  • GAA: 2.25
  • SO: 5

 

Top Scorer – Goals (Richard)

Vladimir Tarasenko

tarasenko-richard

If Tarasenko is leading the team in goals that is only good news for the Blues. He is a pure sniper and over the past 4 seasons only one man has more goals (149) than him, and that’s Ovechkin (185). A mark that has eluded Tarasenko so far in his career is the 50-goal plateau. Could this be the season he finally gets there? Maybe. It’s been hard to find the right players to play alongside him so far in his career. But, with an improved forward group, especially at center, Tarasenko has a wealth of talent surrounding him this season to set him up for a myriad of goals.

Predicted season stats:

  • Goals: 48
  • Assists: 40
  • Points: 88

 

Best Leader (Clancy)

Alex Pietrangelo

petro-clancy

Pietrangelo is one of the most respected guys in the NHL. Players know how great of a defenseman he is, but they also know how great of a person he is off the ice. He seems to be more of a lead by example guy as opposed to a vocal leader. But when he talks, the team seems to listen. The Blues also feed off of his play, which was evident last season. In the beginning, Pietrangelo was on a roll. He was putting up points night in and night out, and the team was winning at a blistering pace. Then he went cold, possibly due to playing with an injury, and the team went cold too. At the end of the season when the Blues were making their playoff push, there was Pietrangelo leading the way again. I expect him to have a phenomenal season and lead the Blues storming back into the playoffs with a chip on their shoulders.

(See above for predicted season stats)

 

Regular Season MVP (Hart)

Jaden Schwartz

schwartz-hart

If the Blues could have named a team MVP for the first half of last season, it would have been Schwartz. He was on a heater, putting up points at a career year pace. It wasn’t a fluke. Schwartz is one of the hardest working guys on the Blues, and it shows on the ice. Rarely does he get outworked for a puck, and he’s shifty so once he gets the puck it’s hard to take it from him. Schwartz is already a talented player, but his work ethic makes him that much better. This season will be a career year for him, and his performance will lead the Blues back into the playoffs as the number 2 seed in the Central.

(See above for predicted season stats)

 

Playoff MVP (Conn Smythe)

Brayden Schenn or Jake Allen

schenn-allen-conn-smythe

In the playoffs, a team needs multiple members to rise to the occasion when it matters most. For the Blues, those two players will be Brayden Schenn and Jake Allen. Schenn was one of the most consistent players for the Blues last season, and he has started to become one of the leaders in the locker room. There’s a saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. That’s Schenn. A couple of years ago, Schenn had the side of his abdomen sliced by an errant skate mid-game. He got some repairs and came back out to score the game-winning goal in overtime. Schenn is the guy who will lead the Blues through the adversity that arises during the playoffs. If you want to win the Cup, though, you need more than just a good offense: you need a rock in between the pipes. Jake Allen will be in the running for MVP with Schenn, and the Blues are going to need him. We saw Allen put the team on his back two season ago when he single-handedly stole the first round playoff series from the Minnesota Wild. The Blues won in 5 games when it should have probably been the opposite. That’s what The Snake is capable of, and he will do it again this postseason as the Blues ride his hot glove to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

(One can hope, right?)

Predicted playoff stats:

Schenn

  • Goals: 12
  • Assists: 15
  • Points: 27

Allen

  • SV%: .927
  • GAA: 2.05
  • SO: 3

 

Training camp is starting in a few weeks, so get excited Blues fans. This will be a thrilling season!

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