Only one team has managed to win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons in the salary cap era. The St. Louis Blues have what it takes to join that exclusive group.
The Stanley Cup is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, trophy to win. It takes eight grueling months of punishment and hard work to earn the right to hoist it. There’s a good reason the Pittsburgh Penguins are the only team in the salary cap era to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. As hard as it is to repeat, the St. Louis Blues have a good chance of hoisting the Stanley Cup again in June.
History is against the Blues. Since 1990, only three teams have repeated as Stanley Cup champions. And there’s a reason for that. Winning the Stanley Cup is very difficult. Not only do you need to be good, but you also need a bunch of things that are beyond your control to go your way.
That being said, the Blues have what it takes to repeat as the champions of the NHL. It won’t be easy, but you can’t deny they’ve got a good chance of doing so. Here’s a look at three reasons the Blues could repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
All stats are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.
3. A Suffocating Defense
A huge reason why the Blues were so good last season is that they basically suffocated opposing offenses. The Blues have kept this trend going, as they’ve allow the third-fewest 5v5 goals against per hour (2.16). They are in the bottom 10 in scoring chances against per hour and expected goals against per hour as well.
Though their penalty kill is trending in the wrong direction, special teams don’t really matter too much in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Keep in mind the Blues only killed 75.4% of their penalties during their Stanley Cup run last season. So though there should be some concern about their shorthanded woes, that’s a relatively small problem to have.
Jordan Binnington, as expected, has experienced some regression from last season’s numbers. On paper, his .912% save percentage isn’t impressive. However, both Binnington and Jake Allen have been above-average in GSAx (goals saved above expected), according to Evolving Hockey. Even if Binnington falters, they have a strong backup plan in Allen.