Dynasties are hard to build in the modern-day NHL. Parity is at an all-time high and there are more teams than ever fighting for the same trophy. However, the St. Louis Blues are the reigning Stanley Cup champions and have built a team that is poised to repeat. Here are three reasons why the Blues can repeat as Cup champions.
1. Their Style Of Play
The Blues won their first-ever Stanley Cup with their possession-dominant style of play. This team does a great job of keeping possession which allows them to dictate the play on the ice. With one of the strongest centre cores in the league, the team cleans house in the faceoff dot which allows them to gain possession. This is especially important during power plays (24.3%) which is a big reason why this team is so dominant in that department.
This team also does a great job shutting down all their opponents. Once this team gets the lead, they win the game. The Blues are 29-2-8 this season when scoring first and in one-goal games, they are 9-3. This ability to shut down their opponents is what makes them so dangerous in the postseason.
In the playoffs, scoring goes down and both the defence and goaltending become magnified in their importance. This fits extremely well with the Blues’ style of play and it is why they will find a lot of success in the postseason.
2. Goaltending Wins Championships
Hockey is a very team-oriented sport, but the goaltending position will make or break your team. In the NHL, goaltending wins championships and the Blues have one of the strongest tandems in the league in Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen.
Jordan Binnington single-handedly saved the Blues season last year and was the biggest reason for their championship. This season, he has continued his dominance and was one of the best goaltenders in the league with 30 wins (third most in the league) and a .912 save percentage. His partner, Jake Allen’s goals-against average was 2.15 which was the second-best in the NHL.
If you look at past Cup champions, you will see that their goaltenders put on a show. Braden Holtby, Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury, Corey Crawford, the list goes on. The Blues have not one, but two strong goaltenders that have already been through all the pressure of the playoffs and that gives them a massive advantage.
3. Vladimir Tarasenko Returns
The Blues’ superstar hasn’t played since October due to shoulder surgery but is back and better than ever. In an interview with Adam Kidelman from NHL.com, Tarasenko said that this extra time has given him the chance to actually make his shoulder stronger. For all the goaltenders, hearing that a premier goalscorer like Tarasenko strengthened his shoulder should send shivers down their spines.
The Blues went 37-17-7 without their star and was first place in the extremely competitive Central Division. If they can play this well without Tarasenko, imagine what kind of team we will see with him back in the lineup.
Dynasties are hard to build in the modern-day NHL, but if any team is built like one, it is the St. Louis Blues.