Blues begin season with hopes of hoisting cup
ST. LOUIS - The 2014-2015 NHL season is now well under way. For the St. Louis Blues, it's another season filled with hopes and dreams of capturing the franchise's first Stanley Cup Championship.
The 2013 season was a roller-coaster ride for the Blues.
There were the highs of "Oshie mania" at the Winter Olympics, and the initial excitement of the Ryan Miller trade with Buffalo.
There were the lows of losing a grasp on the President's trophy down the stretch, and eventually falling to the rival Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the 2014 NHL playoffs.
So far, the 2014-2015 version of the team under The Arch is off to a 2-1-1 start.
There are some notable changes to this year's team.
The move with the most fanfare surrounding it was the signing of St. Louis native Paul Stastny to a 4-year deal. Stastny, who's father Peter and brother Yan both played for St. Louis, was one of the biggest names on the free agent market this offseason.
The Blues also added forwards Jori Lehtera and Joakim Lindstrom, as well as defensemen Carl Gunnarsson and Petteri Lindbohm.
As far as losses go, goalie Ryan Miller left St. Louis in free agency for greener pastures in Vancouver.
The team also lost forward Vladimir Sobotka to Avangard Omsk of the KHL. Sobotka, a fan favorite with the Blues, left for the KHL after contract negotiations with St. Louis management went sour.
Overall, a solid foundation returns to try and bring Lord Stanley's Cup to the Gateway City.
The offense will be anchored by Captain David Backes, and Alternate Captains Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie. Steen lead the Blues in both goals and points last season with 33 and 62, respectively.
Emerging young stars Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz also figure to notch their fair share of points this season. Schwartz just recently tallied his first career hat trick in a 6-1 win over Arizona.
On defense, emerging talents Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk make up the foundation of the Blues back end along with veterans Jay Bouwmeester and Barret Jackman.
Between the pipes, veteran Brian Elliot will be the default starter with youngster Jake Allen spelling him from time to time. Elliot recently registered his 17th shutout as a Blue which moves him into second place all-time in franchise history.
As a whole, there's a lot to be excited about regarding this year's Blues squad.
For a fan base that has suffered heartbreak after heartbreak for 47 years, the Blues seem on the cusp of rewarding their faithful with a Stanley Cup.
Regardless of their record at the end of it all, at least the Blues will be sporting some sweet new duds this season.