The St. Louis Blues hope to finally get over the playoff hump in 2014-15. Here's our preview of the team and the Central Division.
2013-14 RECORD: 52-23-7, 111 points (second in Central; lost to Blackhawks, 4-2, in first round)
VITAL SIGNS: 2.92 goals per game (7th); 2.29 goals-against per game (3rd); 19.8 power play pct. (7th); 85.7 penalty kill pct. (2nd); shootout record: 9-3 (3rd)
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
Jaden Schwartz — David Backes — T.J. Oshie
Alexander Steen — Paul Stastny — Joakim Lindstrom
Patrik Berglund — Jori Lehtera — Vladimir Tarasenko
Steve Ott — Maxim Lapierre — Dimirtij Jaskin
For the first time in his career, Elliott gets the chance to be the undisputed No.1 for St. Louis. During the past three seasons, coach Ken Hitchcock has had the luxury of playing the hot hand with Elliott, Jaroslav Halak and/or Ryan Miller, but it's Elliott's net now—at least to start. The Blues' front-office brass is showing plenty of confidence in rookie Jake Allen, the AHL's goalie of the year last season, as the back-up, meaning they expect the youngster to push for playing time. As the incumbent, Elliott must show that he's capable of night-in, night-out consistency, or risk losing the job. If that happens, the Blues will have to assess Allen's performance and if he's ready to handle the pressure of the team's playoff expectations.
PREDICTION: 102 points; second in Central