Embracing the Blue Side: An analysis of offseason acquisitions 10 games in.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely riding the high I am after that statement game Saturday night against Chicago. There’s something to be said for the way the team played when it mattered most…in the 3rd period. What has routinely been a 20 minute nightmare for the Blues this season turned into three extra nails hammered into the Blackhawk’s coffin. But let’s shift away from the team as a whole for a moment. Instead let’s take a look at the 7 (I’m counting 8, but we’ll get to that) offseason acquisitions and how they’ve looked through 10.

 

Ryan O’Reilly

The Belle of the ball. Enough good things cannot be said about this guy. Sure I liked him as a 2-way center when there were trade rumors mulling around, but I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted just how incredible he’s been.

Think back to that fateful evening. In most Blues fans mind, it was a trade we overwhelmingly won before O’Reilly had even touched down in St. Louis. Addition by subtraction is a real thing. Consider this: Through 10 games, Ryan O’Reilly has 14 points. Patrick Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, and Tage Thompson have combined for 3.

More than that, O’Reilly is a bonafide playmaker. Setting aside the two goals he’s had in the first minute of the game on excellent shots against Winnipeg and Chicago which help set the tone right out of the gate, the amount of scoring chance he has created via beautiful passes and situational awareness that we’ve not seen from a Center in STL for a while. Brayden Schenn was stellar last season, but O’Reilly is in a league of his own.

I could gush about this guy and his fantastic beard until the puck drops Thursday night, but we’ve got other acquisitions to talk about.

P.S. Did I mention he’s winning 62% of his FO’s?

 

Tyler Bozak

Bozie was my guy coming into the season. I felt he was a bit smothered in Toronto, and the Tavares signing would only make that worse. This seemed like a good place for him to thrive on the third line. While things haven’t been as electric as I expected for him, (4 points, -4 +/-) I still believe he’s an upgrade over what we had last year. I’ve still got optimism that he will turn out to be a Steen like player, and a fan favorite. (Check out his farewell letter to Toronto…and grab the tissues).

 

Pat Maroon

I’ve heard a lot of Pat Maroon haters over the past few weeks. What I don’t think these people are realizing is that Maroon was never brought here to be some point sniping speedy winger. He was brought here to do exactly what he’s done all season. Fight for the puck, be aggressive as hell, and get in the goalie’s way.

He’s an old school style player. Big body, impossible to move. There’s a place for guys like that, and Tarasenko’s first goal against Chicago is a textbook definition of that place.

Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 10.17.09 AM.png

In case you’re wondering, that black streak in the top corner of the net is the puck after Tarasenko buried a shot that Crawford is still looking for.

You know that old saying “you make a better door than a window”? Pat Maroon is the world’s best door.

 

David Perron

Hardly a “new acquisition”. DP is on his third stint in STL, and so far he’s seemed like a totally new player. I’m not sure if getting a bigger role in Vegas was a confidence boost, or he’s just grown his game, but so far Perron’s homecoming x2 has been delightful. David has been a very bright spot, and a guy who has been relentless on the puck. He’s made opposing goalies pay for leaving the crease twice already this season. I’ll be curious to see where Perron stands when it’s time for Seattle’s expansion draft.

 

Chad Johnson

As I write this, we haven’t received any update on the status of Jake Allen. I would assume it’ll be a week or two before we see him since Husso was called up, so with that in mind, Chad Johnson just became a hell of a lot more important to this squad. Time will tell if his impact is positive or negative.

Robert Thomas

The young star has had some trouble finding the puck in his first few games as an NHLer, but don’t worry. The goals will come. He’s got the vision, the hockey IQ, all the intangibles you could want. He just needs the experience.

Jordan Kyrou

I had this section ready to go, but it’s now Tuesday night and Kyrou is back in San Antonio. I don’t expect he’ll be there long though. I’m very excited for that lightning bolt of a forward.

 

Despite the slow start, ill-timed injuries, and head coaching controversy, I think it’s safe to say that the moves Doug Armstrong made this offseason were overwhelmingly positive. I don’t know about you, but i’m very excited to see what the future holds for this incredibly skilled roster.

 

We’ll see a struggling Vegas Golden Knights squad this Thursday. Could be a big momentum game for us.

 

Thanks for reading,

Let’s Go Blues

 

 

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