After the non-event of the trade deadline for the Flames, there isn’t any sort of disruption to worry about for the game versus the Blues tonight.
St. Louis has finally taken the next step this year and spending years and years in the weeds. A lot of this will be attributed to Ken Hitchcock because the team took off after Davis Payne was fired, but the truth is the Blues had solid underlying numbers last year and similarly better than average possession rates this year before Hitchcock was hired.
The Blues are good because they have several lines of quality ES players. McDonald, Steen, Berglund, Oshie, Backes, Perron and Sobotka make a up a nucleus supported by Arnott, Stewart, D’Agostini and Langenbrunner. There’s no superstars there, but that’s at least three lines of forwards with no real weak spot. Particularly because Backes has moved from a middle tier power forward to one of the premier two-way skaters in the league.
Having a Selke quality guy makes everyone elses life easier and that’s what’s happening in St. Louis this season. That and Brian Elliot has gone from a replacement level ‘tender to amazing without cause or warning. That’s the part of this meteoric rise that probably won’t last long term. Still…the Blues are really good and the Flames have a huge challenge on their hands this evening.