As the lockout enters day 72, fans are left to wonder whether or not we will see a shortened NHL season. However, there is some room to be optimistic. The NHL only cancelled two weeks of December instead of the whole month. The NHLPA made an offer that began to significantly bridge the gap.
Maybe the two sides can work out a deal soon so a season can start up sometime around the beginning of the New Year. If that ends up being the case, a 50 game season can be salvaged. That being said, you cannot have a season without some predictions!
What forwards will be lining up for your St. Louis Blues in this mini season? What are some numbers to expect from those players? I am no guru, but I can certainly give you my theory. Here we go!
We will start with a no brainer; Backes will be starting for the Blues. He put up 24 goals and 30 assists for 54 points in 82 games last season. Expect some similar production from him this year.
2013 Prediction: GP-50 G-16 A-21 P-37
Oshie is another lock for the Blues. He put up 19 goals and 35 assists last season in 80 games. I actually expect Oshie’s numbers to increase a bit.
2013 Prediction: GP-45 G-14 A-29 P-43
Perron is a guy who could really have a breakout year. He posted 21 goals and 21 assists in 57 games last year after coming off his year-long battle with a concussion. Expect those numbers to increase this year.
2013 Prediction: GP-47 G-22 A-21 P-43
McDonald is the Blues’ most dynamic scorer. The problem is that he is rarely healthy. In his 25 games last season, he put up 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points. He can put up big numbers, but do not expect to see him too much.
2013 Prediction: GP-20 G-8 A-13 P-21
Steen is a solid two way forward for the Blues. He can put up some points, but he also excels on defense. He put up 15 goals and 13 assists last season in 43 games. The big question is whether or not he can stay healthy.
2013 Prediction: GP-32 G-11 A-8 P-19
Finally, a new name to the team! Tarasenko is the super-prospect in the world of hockey today. He has put up some big numbers in the KHL. He could look pretty good at the NHL level as well.
2013 Prediction: GP-42 G-23 A-16 P-39
Which Chris Stewart will show up this year? The one who looked amazing at the end of the 2011 season, or the lackluster one we saw last year? I think Stew will rebound this year. He is better than the 15 goals and 15 assists in 79 games he posted last season.
2013 Prediction: GP-50 G-21 A-19 P-40
Sobotka is about as good of a third line guy as one could ask for. He truly plays a 200 foot game. He is defense first, but he will notch a couple points along the way. Last year he posted 5 goals and 15 assists in 73 games. Expect more of the same.
2013 Prediction: GP-44 G-3 A-9 P-12
Langs is another great bottom six guy. The old vet showed last year that he still had plenty in the tank by posting 6 goals and 18 assists in 70 games. His numbers may dip a bit, but he still should put up a solid season.
2013 Prediction: GP-46 G-4 A-10 P-14
The Berg dog may be relegated to the third line to start the season. He will certainly get a crack at the top six when someone gets injured. He posted 19 goals and 19 assists in 82 games last year. The production should be similar this year.
2013 Prediction: GP-50 G-11 A-13 P-24
As we shift to the checkers on the team, these stats become pretty meaningless. Who cares though? This is fun! Nichol posted 3 goals and 5 assists in 80 games. That seems about right.
2013 Prediction: GP-47 G-2 A-3 P-4
Reaves has actually shown some scoring touch for such a gritty guy. He put up 3 goals and an assist in 60 games last year. He did not set the world on fire, but not bad for the fighter on the team.
2013 Prediction: GP-48 G-2 A-2 P-4
In a complete toss up for the last checking spot on the team, I say Peluso wins the job. He is a sound defensive player and should complement Reaves and Nichol well. That being said, do not expect much offense.
2013 Predictions: GP-37 G-1 A-2 P-3
Dags will again be the main bench guy for the team. He will be ready and willing to step up when somebody goes down. He put up 9 goals and 9 assists in 55 games last year and things should be similar this time around.
2013 Prediction: GP-32 G-6 A-7 P-13
Obviously some other wild cards will slip through and see time at the NHL level, but we are not going to run through all of the possibilities. The players listed above should be the main group of guys lining up. Look out for my article on the defenseman and goalie projections coming out soon.