The Franchise Four. The Mount Rushmore. Four players who tell the story of an organization. In this series, I’ll be taking a look at the history of all 30 NHL squads. For criteria, I’m choosing one forward, defenceman, goaltender and a wild card from any position.
Since entering the NHL in 1967, the St. Louis Blues have reached the Stanley Cup Final three times.
During said time frame, the Blues have iced the likes of Brett Hull, Bernie Federko, Chris Pronger, Mike Liut, Pavol Demitra, Curtis Joseph, Keith Tkachuk, Barclay Plager, Garry Unger, Al MacInnis, Brian Sutter, Greg Millen and Grant Fuhr.
So, which players make their “Franchise Four?”
4. The Goalie – Mike Liut
Mike Liut tended goal with the St. Louis Blues across six seasons. In his first year with the Blues, Liut led all netminders with 32 victories. During the 1980-81 season, Liut was an All-Star, recipient of the Ted Lindsay Award and finished second in voting for the Hart Memorial Trophy. Liut followed up the next two campaigns with a workhorse workload, leading the league in games played and minutes. In Blues franchise history, Liut tops the charts in games played (347), wins (151) and minutes (20,010) and ranks tied for seventh in shutouts (10).
3. The Defenseman – Chris Pronger
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. While the Blues may have lost Scott Stevens by virtue of signing Brendan Shanahan, they were ultimately able to obtain Chris Pronger by trading Shanahan to Hartford. Pronger played nine seasons with St. Louis and was a four-time All-Star. When the Blues won the Presidents’ Trophy in 1999-00, Pronger earned the Hart Memorial Trophy and James Norris Memorial Trophy. The 1999-00 campaign also saw Pronger best the league in defensive point shares and plus/minus rating. During his tenure with the Blues, Pronger finished in the top five in Norris Trophy voting four-times. In Blues franchise history, Pronger ranks first in plus/minus (140), seventh in assists (272), tenth in points (356) and fifth in penalty minutes (931). Pronger captained the Blues from 1997-2002.
2. The Wild Card – Bernie Federko
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bernie Federko played 13 seasons with the Blues. Federko was a two-time All-Star. In 1983-84, Federko notched a career best 41-goals. Federko netted seven season of 30-goals or more. Across 91 postseason contests, Federko registered 101 points, including a league best 21 in 1985-86. In Blues franchise history, Federko ranks best in games played (927), assists (721), points (1,073), second in goals (352), even strength goals (234) and power play goals (116). Federko captained the Blues during the 1988-89 season.
1. The Forward – Brett Hull
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Brett Hull was the most dynamic scorer in Blues history. “The Golden Brett” played eleven seasons in St. Louis, serving as team captain from 1992-1995. Hull was a seven-time All-Star with the Blues. During the 1990-91 season, Hull led the league in goals (86), and goals of the even strength (57), power play (29) and game winning (11) variety, earning the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award. A season prior, Hull brought home the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. From 1989-1992, Hull led the NHL in goal scoring for three consecutive seasons. In Blues franchise history, Hull ranks first in goals scored (527), goals created (398.4), even strength goals (314), power play goals (195), game winning goals (70), second in assists (409), points (936) and short-handed tallies (18).
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.