(HockeyStL) -- The Blues are receiving a lot of preseason praise from predictors, most recently from the award-winning EA Sports NHL team. The best-selling game franchise, which recently released its new installment, NHL 14, does an annual preseason simulation, and this year they have some good news for Blues fans.
The annual season simulation picked the Blues to win the Stanley Cup this year for the first time in franchise history. According to the results of the simulation, the Blues will finish second in the Central Division, behind the Chicago Blackhawks, but will wind up winning the ultimate prize.
The simulation had the Blues playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, with the Blues winning the series in six games.
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“The St. Louis Blues are the personification of NHL 14,” NHL 14 producer Sean Ramjagsingh told Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon. “They’re tough, fast and have one of the deepest lineups in the league, making them a favorite to finish on top this season.”
The NHL 14 simulation isn’t the first predictor to predict the Blues as Cup hoisters. The Hockey News released its annual predictions a few weeks ago, and like the NHL 14 simulation, they projected the Blues to win the Stanley Cup.
The Hockey News also predicted that the Blues would finish second in the Central Division. Praising their sound defensive game, The Hockey News concluded that the Blues are the team that would earn the Cup this year. Their reasoning was eerily similar to Ramjagsingh’s.
“Our Stanley Cup pick this season, the St. Louis Blues, are a team on the rise,” was the lead-in for The Hockey News’ prediction article. “Knocked out by the Los Angeles Kings in back-to-back playoffs, the Blues still have some proving to do, but have one of the deepest rosters, at every position, in the league.”
The Blues, under the direction of veteran head coach Ken Hitchcock, finished last season fourth in the Western Conference. Key moves at the trade deadline by general manager Doug Armstrong, as well as the additions of forwards Derek Roy, Maxim Lapierre, and Magnus Paajarvi make the Blues one of the deepest clubs in the league at all positions. Perhaps the Blues’ biggest weakness is their lack of a true scoring threat, but the club is hoping a team-offense, and a solid defensive game will make up for areas where the team lacks.
Two seasons ago, the Blues finished with 109 points, and the Central Division title. They have bowed out to the Kings in consecutive years, but are primed for a run at the Cup this season.
The hype is nothing new to the Blues, and it won’t affect how they play. However, it does add pressure for the team to be successful. St. Louis has all the makings of a Stanley Cup Champion, and while the outside recognition is nice, it means nothing once the puck drops on Oct. 3.