St. Louis Blues Ivan Barbashev waits for the drop of the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fisrt period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on September 25, 2014. UPI/BIll Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
Columbus Blue Jackets Marko Dano climbs the back of St. Louis Blues Chris Butler in the first perod at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on September 25, 2014. UPI/BIll Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
St. Louis Blues Ian Cole presses Columbus Blue Jackets Scott Hartnell into the boards during the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on September 25, 2014. UPI/BIll Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
ST. LOUIS BLUES
LAST SEASON: 52-23-7, 111 points. Tied for third overall in Western Conference, lost in first round to Chicago.
COACH: Ken Hitchcock, third full season with Blues. 124-55-20. 657-405-178 overall in 18 seasons, seventh on career win list.
ADDED: C Paul Stastny, C Jori Lehtera, D Carl Gunnarsson, C Colin Fraser, F Robby Fabbri.
LOST: G Ryan Miller, D Roman Polak, F Vladimir Sobotka, F Brenden Morrow.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jaden Schwartz. Signing Stastny in free agency creates open ice for everyone else. Schwartz led team at plus-28 last season and scored 25 goals.
OUTLOOK: They've been among the NHL's best regular-season teams the last few seasons, and one of the stingiest, too. Last season they allowed the third-fewest goals, plus defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk are highly productive joining the rush. They appear to have enough firepower to contend for an ever-elusive first Stanley Cup, although as usual there's plenty of competition at the top of the Western Conference.
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