from Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
At least temporarily, the sting of a rare Blues playoff miss has been replaced by the rampant optimism of an offseason filled with player acquisitions.
Center was a trouble spot last year. It should be a strength this season. On paper, there’s more depth and more scoring punch. All of that should help the Blues compete with the big boys in the Central Division, Nashville and Winnipeg, plus the rest of the NHL....
So yes, another Blues hockey season is upon us, with camp starting Friday and the first exhibition game on the horizon — Sept. 18 in Dallas. Of course, between now and the regular-season opener, Oct. 4 against Winnipeg, there is work to be done and questions to be addressed:
1. IS EVERYTHING JAKE (IN GOAL)?
This is a big year for Jake Allen — general manager Doug Armstrong said so way back in April. The team cannot afford another prolonged midseason slump by the 28-year goaltender.
From the start of last season through the end of December, Allen had a 2.57 goals-against average and a save percentage of .913. From early March through the end of the season, Allen posted very similar numbers — a 2.51 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.
You can win with those numbers, especially with what figures to be a better offensive cast.
The problem was that stretch in January and February (3.74 goals-against average and a .875 save percentage).
“What we have to do is make those five weeks go away,” Armstrong said in April.
The team also must overcome the loss of backup Carter Hutton, who signed a free-agent deal with Buffalo after a career year. His replacement, Chad Johnson, is coming off a career-worst year in Buffalo.
read on for 9 more questions...
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