Filed under: Blues, NHL GeneralWelcome to the NHL FanHouse 2008-09 season preview. While other sites are previewing "30 teams in 30 days," we decided to take advantage of the extra time off before the start of the season to bring you all 30 previews over the next three weeks. We're counting down in reverse order of finish from last season in each conference every weekday from now until October 3. Look for an Eastern Conference preview every morning and a Western Conference preview every afternoon. Click here to read them all.
Who's In: Andy Wozniewsky, D (UFA, Tor), Brad Winchester, LW (UFA, Dal), Steve Regier, LW (UFA, NYI), Ca
m Paddock, C (UFA, AHL), Matt Foy, R (UFA, Min), Chris Mason, G (trade, Nsh)
Who's Out: Martin Rucinsky, LW (Europe), Mike Johnson, RW (UFA, Mon), Jamal Mayers, RW (trade, Tor)
What's Changed: The youth movement has continued with two young forwards set to compete for spots. TJ Oshie and Patrick Berglund will add to a group that already includes players like Lee Stempanik, David Backes, and Jay McClement. On the backend, Erik Johnson will continue his trek toward being a franchise defenseman.
The Blues have Brad Boyes coming off a 43-goal season. His confidence has to be at a high level, which should make for an interesting season for the 26-year-old.
In net, Manny Legace remains the starter, but he'll have a solid backup in Chris Mason and that should generate some good competition. It also gives the Blues solidity in terms of goaltending.
Overall, the biggest difference between this year's St. Louis Blues and last year's is that extra year of experience. They didn't make any major splashes on the free agent or trade markets and so will have to rely on the increased maturity of their young players and continued viabiltiy of their veterans instead.
Who's On The Hook: Boyes is under a fair amount of pressure to score 40+ gols again, but it seems to me that Kariya really needs to have an improved year in the goals category. Andy MacDonald, in his first full year as a Blue, will need to be more productive as well.
Where They'll Finish: Even with the young guys having gained a year of experience, it's difficult to see the Blues finishing too much higher than they did last year (27th in the League). They are in a tough Conference and will face serious competition in their own division from Detroit and likely Chicago.
Blogs To Watch: