FERRARIO: Projected Blues Roster, Lineups for Thursday's Season Opener

Three days away from opening night and the Blues still some roster decisions to get down to 23.

Alex Ferrario
October 01, 2018 - 3:20 pm
St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) skates towards the bench after scoring a goal and being congratulated by teammates Joel Edmundson (6) and Jaden Schwartz (17) and Alex Pietrangelo (27) and Brayden Schenn.

(Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports)

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Three days away from opening night for the St. Louis Blues and there's still some roster decisions to get down to the final 23, before Thursday. The latest news today placed Dmitrij Jaskin & Chris Thorburn on waivers, so let’s take a look at how the roster could look against the Winnipeg Jets.

CENTERS

Ryan O’Reilly: Pretty obvious that ROR is going to not only be on the roster but possibly the No. 1 center. After watching him during preseason, O’Reilly has made some incredible plays and the coaching staff is making it a point to build chemistry between he and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Brayden Schenn: Plan on No. 10 picking up right where he left off last season. Between the chemistry he built with Jaden Schwartz and putting up career numbers – Schenn is poised to be a huge piece to the Blues offense this season.

Tyler Bozak: Last season nobody could solidify that third line position and Bozak has everything that head coach Mike Yeo needs. Tyler played everywhere for Toronto last season and is not only an offensive weapon for the Blues this year but is just as solid defensively. Bozak and Alexander Steen could be a dangerous duo for match-ups being on the third line.

Related story: Ryan O'Reilly Recalls Hilarious Goal Celebration Music With Team Canada

Robert Thomas: The rookie has nothing to gain from going back to Juniors this season. He scored 75 points in 49 games and won the OHL championship with his team. So why send him back this season (because he is not eligible for the AHL this season). With a goal and 3 assists this preseason, Thomas showed growth throughout camp and proved that he can play at this level. Just a matter of how he adapts into a fourth line role

LEFT WING

Pat Maroon: “Big Rig” is poised to have a career year, surpassing the 2016-17 season he had with the Oilers (27 goals, 15 assists in 81 games). Maroon will provide the Blues with an element they haven’t had since David Backes also. Size and Grit. His biggest asset will no doubt come form his attitude and presence on the powerplay.

Jaden Schwartz: Schwartz is a “sparkplug” for this team, he and Schenn could create one of the best second lines in the league this year. If Schwartz can avoid injuries, watch for him to have a 30-35 goal season.

Alexander Steen: In terms of numbers, Steen has taken a step back the last couple seasons but mostly because he’s been trying to do to much. He has been playing top-six minutes where he can be an effective player on that third line. Give him a consistent center, Steen could round out close to 50 points and be the element the team needs defensively.

Ivan Barbashev: This one is intriguing because most would have placed him in the fourth line center role before Robert Thomas came onto the scene. Barbashev has proven that he can play anywhere in the lineup and still utilize his assets. Ivan has skill and speed that could compliment Thomas down the middle.

RIGHT WING

Vladimir Tarasenko: No explanation needed here. Vladdy has his No. 1 center – now it’s just a matter of putting it all together for his first 50-goal season.

Robby Fabbri: Injuries make this a big question mark but I’m siding with optimism that Robby will be a piece this season. It may not be all year and may take time due to missing the last two seasons. But if Fabbri stays healthy and can avoid soreness, his second line may be one of the fastest in the league.

David Perron: I love this third piece to the third line. 60-plus points last season, Stanley Cup Finals, and forever a Blue…Perron plays the game fast but can be a power-forward in front of the net if needed. Don’t expect a 65-point season from Perron but a weapon on the PP, PK and 5-5.

Related story: Odyssey Over: David Perron's Return to St. Louis

Sammy Blais: Sammy could be on the second line this season if Fabbri is unable to go, but he will be on this team. Blais had a memorable training camp and showcased why injuries were so disappointing last season. Blais has a lethal shot and on either second line or fourth line, he will be setup to produce.

Jordan Kyrou: I think Kyrou will be kept on this team due to the uncertainity of Fabbri and Sundqvist’s injury from the final preseason game. He may be the first one sent to the AHL when everyone is healthy due to other contract problems. But Kyrou has impressed in camp and should be a part of this roster to start out.

DEFENSEMAN

Joel Edmundson & Alex Pietrangelo: This is your No. 1 unit. I know Mike Yeo experimented putting Petro and Bo back together but Edmundson compliments Petro’s game so well. Joel provides the grit and nastiness that is needed on the back-end while allowing Alex to insert himself into the offense.

Jay Bouwmeester & Colton Parayko: Same can be said for these two. Some may not like Bouwmeester because of the contract but if fully healthy (which his preseason says he is), Jay is a Top-four defenseman that compliments Parayko’s game and provides him with some fleixibility.

Vince Dunn & Jordan Schmaltz: It may not stay this way all season due to Carl Gunnarsson’s health and Robert Bortuzzo’s suspension but Schmaltz looks to be the extra defenseman. Not that he played better than Walman, but Jordan’s one-way contract creates a tight spot for Blues GM Doug Armstrong. Depth is important – specifically on defense.

GOALIE

Jake Allen: He’s your No. 1 and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Stopped 44 of 49 in three preseason games and looked as steady as any No. 1 throughout. Avoiding the January slump is the most important part.

Related story: Chad Johnson on What Relationship He Needs With Jake Allen

Chad Johnson: I know many are questioning Chad as the No. 2 but look at his number then consider the teams he played on. Chad picked up a shutout in the preseason and looks to keep the team’s solid back-up goalie streak alive.

PLACED ON Injured Reserve

Carl Gunnarsson: He has continued to practice throughout training camp but two offseason surgeries may keep him from playing in games until mid-October.

Nikita Soshnikov: Still dealing with concussion symptoms that kept him from training camp so it won’t be until possibly November that you see him in the lineup but this is another key piece on the 4th line that looked great last season.

Oskar Sundqvist: That hit from Tom Wilson may keep the only Stanley Cup winner on this Blues roster from playing for a while.

NAMES IN MINORS

Dmitrij Jaskin: Pending waiver claim but if he is not claimed – Jaskin may have dropped lower on the team’s depth chart

Chris Thorburn: Unfortunately for Chris this comes down to numbers. You would like him on your roster b/c of his leadership off the ice and grit on the ice but he is the least likely to be claimed on waivers. So he can continue to play and should be back up with the club at some point this season.

Zach Sanford: Zach missed nearly all of last season and only got into a few games this preseason due to his father passing. Sanford had a great camp and is another power forward for the team. No waiver for Zach gives the team flexibility and will be another call-up once injuries kick in.

MY PROJECTED LINES

Maroon – O’Reilly – Tarasenko

Schwartz – Schenn – Fabbri

Steen – Bozak – Perron

Barbashev – Thomas – Kyrou

       Extras: Blais / Sundqvist

Edmundson – Pietrangelo

Bouwmeester – Parayko

Dunn – Schmaltz

         Extras: Jerabek (Acquired 10/1 from EDM)

Allen

        Backup: Johnson