St. Louis Blues management decisions are paying off

Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images /

St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong had the entire NHL thinking the Blues were looking towards next season. Their resurgence into a potential playoff spot has changed all of that.

Crazy”.  That’s how St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn described the deadline deal that sent top-six center Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a first-round pick and more.

Many expected the Blues wouldn’t make the playoffs because of this. Especially since this was on the heels of a huge losing streak. But an 8-2-0 stretch, including a six-game winning streak, has the Blues in a wild-card spot with six games to go.

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So what changed? The team regressed on paper with the Stastny deal and Jay Bouwmeester has been ruled out for the season. Goaltender Jake Allen has finally assumed the starting role that was bestowed upon him at the beginning of the season.

Their best forward Vladimir Tarasenko is heating up and Alex Pietrangelo is playing like the early Norris favorite that a few analysts predicted.  Schenn has gotten past his trade deadline remarks and is having a stellar first season in St. Louis. Role players such as Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund, and 2016 first-rounder Tage Thompson have elevated their games in Stasnty’s absence.

The players play the games, but general manager Doug Armstrong and head coach Mike Yeo each deserve a ton of credit. Blues ownership rewarded Armstrong with a four-year contract extension late last year and it’s already paying dividends. He has always been a shrewd GM and his accolades speak to that. He has a Stanley Cup ring from his Dallas days and a couple of gold medals to boot.

Meanwhile, Yeo has stayed the course with this club’s system and has put his players in a position to exceed. Even if St.Louis misses the playoffs to a team like the Dallas Stars or Colorado Avalanche, it’s still a step in the right direction.

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Robby Fabbri and Zach Sanford are two young forwards that can step in and give this club a strong start next season. Armstrong has previously stated that the team is retooling on the fly while trying to stay competitive. Right now, the Blues brass are backing up their talk.