Blues Weekly: Season Over, Early Offseason Talk & More

After a great regular season and first-round series against the Minnesota Wild, the St. Louis Blues were bounced in the second round by the Colorado Avalanche in six games. There is a lot to look forward to this offseason, and the Blues will look to keep their Stanley Cup window open, which shouldn’t take much to do.

St. Louis Blues Weekly Ryan O'Reilly David Perron

This season should be viewed as a success, but it certainly ended on a poor note. There is a lot for Blues general manager Doug Armstrong to figure out, but they are in a much better spot than they were a year ago.

Related: St. Louis Blues Top Prospects – 2022 Offseason

The Blues have a solid future with their prospect pool, and they have a lot of core players still locked up on their salary cap log. They had a good season, but it just didn’t end in a good way and that is the beauty of the sport, there’s always next season.

Blues Lose to Avalanche in Six Games

The better team won the series, as the Avalanche carried play in nearly every game. The Blues played much better against them than they did last season, as they proved that they can fight with one of the best teams in the league.

The discouraging issue for the Blues was getting zero goals from both Ivan Barbashev and Brayden Schenn in their entire playoff run, as their depth scoring failed them at points of both series. The encouraging part of the playoffs was Jordan Binnington rediscovering his game and both David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly dominating in both series. They were the Blues’ best playoff players after Binnington, and it wasn’t close. It’d be hard to see a scenario where the Blues allow Perron to leave again as he hits unrestricted free agency.

Overall, the Blues did not deserve to win this series and there was a rightful winner, but that shouldn’t take away from the solid performances from some of the biggest impact players.

Looking Ahead to the Offseason

The Blues have five unrestricted free agents that played in the playoffs, those are Perron, Tyler Bozak, Nick Leddy, Calle Rosen, and Ville Husso. If I had to guess, I’d say that there is one player on the list that I am confident in them retaining and that’s Perron.

David Perron St. Louis Blues
David Perron, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It’s unknown as to what the Blues think about Leddy and his value, but he was solid and that could result in an extension of some kind. I’d be surprised if Bozak, Rosen, or Husso are on the roster next season, each for different reasons. Rosen is not a top-six defenseman for this team, he is solid, but there is a low ceiling with him. Bozak is 36 years old and could still be a fourth-line center, but I don’t feel as though that will happen with Logan Brown here. Husso could return, but it seems like the open market could still treat him well after an uneven playoff run.

There is a chance for the Blues to make some big trades, whether it’s for Jakob Chychrun or Ivan Provorov, but that doesn’t seem all that likely. They could have a fairly quiet offseason if they are able to re-sign Perron and Leddy, as that would be a signal of running it back with this group.

Early Outlook on Blues’ 2022-23 Roster

I don’t see any major changes with the roster next season, the top-nine forwards should remain the same unless Vladimir Tarasenko is traded. The fourth line has a ton of in-house prospects who have shown promise. Alexei Toropchenko should be written in with a permanent marker, as he earned a spot in the lineup next season. It wouldn’t stun me to see a possible trade involving Barbashev, considering his value is still high from a breakout regular season.

St. Louis Blues Celebrate
Tyler Bozak of the St Louis Blues celebrates with Colton Parayko and Alexei Toropchenko after scoring a goal against the Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

As for the defensive unit, unloading Marco Scandella’s contract should be a huge priority. They must also find a steady partner for Colton Parayko, and Leddy has been that. The pairing of Justin Faulk and Torey Krug is fine, and Scott Perunovich with Robert Bortuzzo will likely happen as well. Although some Blues fans have been calling for the club to trade Parayko, it seems quite unlikely at this point. He is about to enter an eight-year contract, which has always been a major gamble for the Blues. In terms of goaltending, the starter will be Binnington and the backup will be Husso, Charlie Lindgren, or an outside veteran netminder such as Eric Comrie or Braden Holtby.

The Blues’ season ended poorly, but it must be looked at as an overall success. Their Cup window likely remains open, as their core remains strong. They have good leadership at every level, so being successful in 2022-23 should not be a big issue.

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