Blues season preview: Binnington must regain old form

The 2022-23 NHL season begins Oct. 7. With coaching camps opening quickly, NHL.com is looking on the 3 keys, the interior scoop on roster questions, and the projected lineup for every of the 32 groups. Today, the St. Louis Blues.

Coach: Craig Berube (5th season)

Last season: 49-22-11; 1/3 position in Central Division, misplaced to Colorado Avalanche in Western Conference Second Round

3 KEYS

1. Binnington again on height

Jordan Binnington is as soon as once more the undisputed starter in target for the St. Louis Blues when they traded Ville Husso to the Detroit Red Wings on July 13. Binnington used to be very good within the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with a 1.72 goals-against moderate and .949 save share in six video games after a lackluster steady season (18-14-4, 3.13 GAA, .901 save share in 37 video games). His talent to go back to his earlier form is the most important for a group that has championship aspirations.

2. Depth on offense

One of the hallmarks of the Blues final season used to be their intensity, with 9 20-goal scorers. They misplaced a kind of gamers, ahead David Perron, who had 57 issues (27 aims, 30 assists) in 67 video games and signed with the Red Wings as a loose agent July 13, and they will want anyone to switch some or all of that manufacturing. It’s imaginable it would come from the ongoing acceleration in building from Jordan Kyrou or Robert Thomas or a prospect like Jake Neighbours or Zachary Bolduc .

3. Centering on Thomas

The Blues made a big gamble on Thomas, signing the 23-year-old to an eight-year, $65 million contract July 13. Thomas had one season closing on his present contract and will have change into a limited loose agent after this season. The middle set NHL occupation highs in aims (20), assists (57) and issues (77) in 72 video games final season, and Blues basic supervisor Doug Armstrong known as Thomas a centerpiece of the group. Thomas appears to proceed his momentum and building as one of the crucial Blues’ maximum essential gamers.

Video: Top 15 Jordan Kyrou Plays from the 2021-22 Season

ROSTER RUNDOWN

Making the minimize

With Kyrou most probably transferring into the highest six to take Perron’s spot, the Blues have a emptiness at third-line ahead. Figuring out who will fit in there can be a focal point of coaching camp, and it would come with Neighbours or Bolduc. The 1/3 protection pair may be in query. The height two pairs seem locked in, with Nick Leddy, Colton Parayko, Torey Krug and Justin Faulk, however the Blues have 8 defensemen on one-way contracts and there can be some battles in camp.

Most intriguing addition

Though Neighbours is not a lock to make the hole night time lineup, it sounds as if he is trending in that route. The 20-year-old performed 9 video games within the NHL final season and had two issues (one target, one help). He performed the remainder of the season with Edmonton of the Western Hockey League, the place he used to be captain and led the group to the WHL championship after he had 45 issues (17 aims, 28 assists) in 30 regular-season video games. St. Louis’ first-round select (No. 26) within the 2020 NHL Draft may just assist in making up for the lack of Perron.

Biggest possible wonder

The likeliest state of affairs does no longer see Bolduc making and sticking with the NHL roster this season, nevertheless it stays a chance for the 19-year-old middle. He had 99 issues (55 aims, 44 assists) in 65 video games for Quebec of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final season, which is the place he may just finally end up this season. But he has a really perfect shot and the ability and talent to be very a hit within the League. The urgent query is when.

Ready to wreck thru

It gave the look of final season used to be going to be the only for defenseman Scott Perunovich to make his mark, however accidents were given in the way in which. Should the 24-year-old stay wholesome, the Blues may just use him instead of Marco Scandella at the 1/3 pair and the ability play. Perunovich had 22 issues (3 aims, 19 assists) in 17 video games for Springfield of the American Hockey League and 6 assists in 19 video games with the Blues final season.

Fantasy sleeper

Ivan Barbashev, C/LW (delusion moderate draft place: 176.3) — He used to be 5th at the Blues with NHL occupation highs in aims (26) and issues (60) final season and had their third-most 5-on-5 aims in keeping with 60 mins (0.94; minimal 40 video games). Barbashev will have an excellent upper ceiling if he sees extra top-six and power-play utilization after the departure of Perron and maintains his prime NHL occupation capturing share (19.2 in 351 NHL video games). — Pete Jensen

PROJECTED LINEUP

Pavel BuchnevichRyan O’ReillyVladimir Tarasenko

Brandon Saad — Robert Thomas — Jordan Kyrou

Jake Neighbours — Brayden Schenn — Ivan Barbashev

Klim Kostin Noel AcciariNathan Walker

Nick Leddy — Colton Parayko

Torey Krug — Justin Faulk

Scott Perunovich — Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Thomas Greiss

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