Just in case, in a bizarre occurrence, the Blues don’t make the playoffs, there are some questions they can get answered in their last seventeen games.
A) Can the Blues continue to advance with their current goalies? Chris Mason is going to be a young 34 in that he’s only played 240 NHL games. But, 34 is still 34. Mason is a free-agent after the season, and it just seems sensible for the Blues to get younger at goalie, with the guy that can grow with this young team.
B) Is Patrik Berglund a bust, or might he boom? In 58 games, Berglund has just 10 goals and 11 assists this season. He had 21 and 26 last season. Is he going to bounce back, or should the Blues move him with the hope that he doesn’t?
C) Can the Blues win with Barrett Jackman and Eric Brewer? Brewer is going to be 31. He’s had a positive plus/minus ratio once in 12 NHL seasons. He’s never scored more than eight goals or 29 points in a season. Jackman is going to be 30. He’s a much better plus/minus performer than Brewer, but is he a 5th or 6th guy on a good team? Plus, the Blues must get Alex Pietrangelo going at some point.
D) What do the Blues do with the money they save when Paul Kariya leaves? They need a guy to do what Kariya was supposed to…score 40 goals. Blues scouts need to be looking at every UFA scoring forward and ascertain what will work for them.
E) Is Davis Payne the right coach? John Davidson, Doug Armstrong and Al MacInnis need to evaluate their interim coach over the final seventeen games and decide whether he can lead this young team to a Stanley Cup. The team continues to say the raw talent is there. Is this the guy to polish it up?
So even if the Blues don’t make the playoffs, there are important things to do down the stretch to determine what their course of action should be in the off-season.