Blues 4th Line Takes New Identity With Thomas as Center Piece

There's no Ryan Reaves, Kyle Brodziak or Scotty Upshall-type players on the Blues new 4th line.

October 03, 2018 - 6:03 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - If the St. Louis Blues lineup stays the same as we've seen the past couple days of practice, then fans will see a much different kind of fourth line as compared to past Blues teams. 

There's no Ryan Reaves-type intimidator or pesky dump and chase forwards like Scottie Upshall and Kyle Brodziak. This year, at least for the start of the season, you'll see young, quick and skilled forwards Ivan Barbashev, Robert Thomas and Sammy Blais. 

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The trio, aged 22, 19 and 22 respectively, will be something St. Louis hasn't seen in quite a while – certainly not in head coach Mike Yeo's time. 

"A different identity," Yeo says. "Those guys have the ability to make plays, those guys have the ability to create offense for us. It's not going to be a line that we just hope to get through a shift or just try to shutdown another team or just give them defensive zone shifts. This is going to be a line that we are going to need to play well defensively in order to get on the ice. But it's a line we believe we can put them on the ice and they can be a threat."

Barbashev and Blais, although young, are not undersized at at 6-foot, 187-pounds and 6-foot-2, 205-pounds respectively. Yeo says the pair have both been plenty physical in their preseason minutes, but he knows physicality isn't a strength for Thomas. 

"What you're looking for is momentum," Yeo says. "That can come in different ways. That can come with a big hit, but that can also come with a shift in the offensive zone, drawing a power play, getting scoring chances and these guys have the ability to do that."