For the fourth straight season, the St. Louis Blues exited the playoffs rather unceremoniously and well before many had expected them to be heading home. And for the third year in a row, there are more questions than answers.
Say what you will about the coaching of Ken Hitchcock or the lack of scoring shown by the Blues in their first-round, six-game defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Wild, but, simply put, what it all boils down to is that they haven’t had a goaltender that can win them games. For three straight seasons, while clubs like Chicago and Los Angeles have dominated the Western Conference thanks to goaltenders that perform well enough to propel their teams through the playoffs, the Blues, once again, exit early because of the inability to keep the puck out of their net.
The problems arose for St. Louis early this season when Brian Elliott, then having one of the best seasons of his career, was sidelined with a lower body injury. The Blues, desperate not to lose ground in the Central Division, went out and snatched up veteran netminder Martin Brodeur and inked him to a bonus-laden contract. The signing of Brodeur was, in a way, St. Louis’ way of showing they weren’t yet ready to trust young goaltender Jake Allen with the starting duties and that Jordan Binnington, the Blues’ option in the AHL, wasn’t ready for the bright lights of the NHL quite yet. Read more