By Mitchell Goldenberg
There are a lot of expectations for the St. Louis Blues entering the 2021-22 Season, but the positional group with the most pressure would be the Forwards. There has been a lot of discussion about this positional group for St. Louis throughout the offseason, which will make it a very interesting season to watch play out.
It would be very remiss of me if I didn’t start this outlook without talking about Vladimir Tarasenko. Vlady requested a trade towards the beginning of the offseason, and he is still on the team. At the time of the request it seemed like a certainty that Tarasenko would be on a new team, yet here we are approaching the preseason, and Vlady is still a member of the Blues. It has become less of a certainty after Tarasenko will be on another team this season, especially after bringing in fellow Russian, Pavel Buchnevich from the Rangers, which pleased seemed to please Vlady.
Buchnevich was one of the two biggest acquisitions for St. Louis this offseason, as the Blues also brought in one of the biggest thorns in their side from last season, Brandon Saad. Saad and Buchnevich look to add some juice to the St. Louis Blues after a quiet exit from the playoffs last season.
With these two being acquired, it makes for St. Louis to appear as deep as they have been in a long time on paper. Adding names like Buchnevich and Saad to the mix will allow Head Coach Craig Berube to get creative with how he will want to use this roster. In my past breakdowns of the Goalies and the Defensemen, it has laid itself out for who will be in the lineups, and which pairings will likely work themselves out. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as Chief has shown a tendency to mix the lines up if they are not working.
With that being said, it is safe to project Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, and Vladimir Tarasenko to start off on the same line, as that has been out go-to best line for a few years. The interesting piece to the puzzle will be how St. Louis will utilize Brayden Schenn. Schenn has been the unsung hero for St. Louis throughout his tenure, but with his versatility to play Center, as well as Wing, I am excited to see who he will end up meshing with.
All in all, it is important to remember that this team had an underwhelming ending to last year’s season. St. Louis needed to bring in some fresh faces in order to rejuvenate the club, and try to remind everyone that the Blues won a Stanley Cup in the most recent season where fans were at full capacity for the entirety of the season.