Blues Bring Back Bannister as Head Coach on a Two-Year Extension

Ottawa Senators v St Louis Blues
Ottawa Senators v St Louis Blues / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

The St. Louis Blues have reached a deal to bring back Drew Bannister as the Head Coach on a two-year extension. Bannister was named intern coach on December 12, 2023, replacing Craig Berube. Bannister now assumes Head Coaching duties and can have a full season to get this team how he wants it and assign certain structures how he sees fit.

Blues, Bannister look to gain on season success

With Bannister behind the bench, the Blues had a record of 30-19-5 record, which ranked as the 12th best in the league during that time for points percentage. St. Louis also improved in goals-against-average from last season (23rd to 12th), power play percentage (31st to 13th), penalty kill percentage (20th to 13th), and in final regular-season standings (21st to 16th). They made a push for a playoff spot until the final weeks.

Bannister has spent the last six seasons in the Blues organization. Before stepping behind the St. Louis bench, he spent three seasons with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League (AHL), where he complied a record of 93-58-19 and appeared in the Calder Cup final in 2021-22. He would serve as Head Coach with the San Antonio Rampage from 2018 to 2020 and then was an assistant coach from 2020 to 2021 with the Utica Comets, both AHL affiliates of the Blues in previous seasons.

His coaching career began in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) as an assistant coach with the Owen Sound Attack from 2012 to 2015. He then went on to grab his first Head Coaching position with the Soo Greyhounds from 2015-2018.

As a player, he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and played 20 seasons as a pro. In the NHL, he played 164 games, scoring five goals and 25 assists for 30 points and 161 penalty minutes. His NHL career would see him play with the Lightning, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, and New York Rangers. His other playing experience includes stops with the Atlanta Knights and Las Vegas Thunder of the International Hockey League (IHL), Hartford Wolf Pack, Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, and Binghamton Senators of the AHL, and stops in Finland, Russia, Germany, and Britain.