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angryjay93

St. Louis Blues

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St. Louis Blues


Team Overview: One of the more overrated teams in the league, the Blues don’t have a single player on the roster that is free of a major weakness. The likes of Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, Nelson Emerson and Jeff Brown all have obvious deficiencies as players, but finding the right mix of these players with the other options on the bench can provide the Blues with a competitive line up that will frustrate opponents.

Forwards: One main issue the Blues forwards are confronted with is a total lack of speed, which rules out using a one man slashing offense as an effective strategy. They also lack a masterful set up man and top tier sniper, making a traditional one –timer offense difficult to pull off. All that can be done is either submit to the weight bug strategy, or construct a jack of all trades line.

Jack of All Trades:
Shanahan-Hull-Emerson

Brendan Shanahan: 10 weight 3/3 skating, 4/5 shot, 4 sth & pass, 5/4 aware, Shoots: R

The fact that Shanahan has made the starting line up says more about the lack of skill on the bench then Shanahan himself. Lets not throw him completely under the bus though, in the right system, under the right circumstances, Shanahan can be a pleasant surprise as a scoring option from the off wing. He has 5 o aware, and will often times make a home in prime scoring areas along the wing leaving him wide open for easy one timers that he can convert with his 4/5 shot. What kills Shanahan though is his 10 weight and 3/3 skating, which makes him a weak puck carrier and defensive option, hopefully he provides enough offense to offset these flaws.

Brett Hull: 9 weight, 4/4 skating, 6/3 shot, 5 sth, 3 pass, 5/3 aware, Shoots: R

Due to the fact that the Blues don’t have a dangerous 1 on 1 forward, it becomes essential to put either Hull or Shanahan in the middle due to their shooting skills. But thanks to Hull’s 4/4 skating and 5 stick handle, he has some legitimate deke ability despite being saddled with 9 weight. Hull has some very high end offensive skills in his 5 o aware and his 6 shot power. One thing (aside from his weight) holds Hull back from being mentioned among the elite snipers, its his 3 shot acc. Because of that, Hull has very wild hot and cold streaks that can prove maddeningly frustrating and put the Blues in prolonged slumps on offense.

Nelson Emerson: 4 weight, 4/4 skating, 3/3 shot, 4 sth, 3 pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: R

Aside from Emerson’s 4 weight and 4/4 skating, he is a rather ordinary option. Emerson has had some successful seasons but he has to be inserted into the right place. He is not a number one option due to his 3/3 shooting and 3 passing, he is a defensive specialist who can be pressed into playmaking duties when need be because of his ability to withstand punishment in the open ice. It is suggested that when the Blues are on the PK, that Emerson gets shifted over to the left in order to keep a defensive presence on the ice.

The key to this line is letting Emerson carry the puck up the ice and finding the open option. He is merely competent on offense, but he is the best 1 on 1 option the team has. The problem with this though is if Emerson gets cut down deep in the offensive zone, the opponent can quickly counter attack on a team with no big hitting presence anywhere else on the ice. Finding the balance between creating with Emerson and keeping him available on defense is paramount.

Bug Line:
Bassen-Hull-Emerson

Bob Bassen: 4 weight, 3/4 skating, 2/3 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 2/2 aware, Shoots: L

Bassen is pure grit on the wing, at 4 weight and 3/4 skating, he provides more of the defensive tenacity that the Blues lack. The cost of having the extra defense is a huge drop off in offense from Shanahan. Unless your name is Kgman, then Bassen’s 2/3 shot and 2 o aware will make it a monumental task to light the lamp on a regular basis with Bassen.

This is a faster line, more defensively conscious, but it takes the most consistent shooter off the ice. If Hull can pot 3 goals a game or so, then the extra defense added by Bassen to go along with Emerson makes it an intimidating line to go against.

Other Options:

Craig Janney: 7 weight, 4/3 skating, 3/4 shot, 4 sth & pass, 5/4 aware, Shoots: L

Craig Janney is available off the bench, but he got shafted on his passing rating by receiving only a 4, couple that with lackluster 4/3 skating and you have player that possesses no unique skills to bring to either line and is better used as a depth option when injuries or penalties arise.

Ron Sutter: 6 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/3 shot, 3 sth, 4 pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: R

A last resort option, Sutter brings some offensive acumen to the table that Bassen could only dream of having, but the downgrade in speed and checking power isn't really something St. Louis can afford to give up too much of.

Forward Rating: (6/10)

Defense: Aside from Jeff Brown, the Blues are truly expansion like along the blue line. A lack of mobility, skill, and checking leave the Blues with a below average defensive corps that has very few alternatives to make the situation better.

Brown-Butcher

Jeff Brown: 9 weight, 3/3 skating, 5/3 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/4 aware, Shoots: R

A rare combination of two right handed shooters that goes against the grain of my typical defensive philosophy. If Shanahan is inserted on the left, this leaves Brown, an offensive minded d-man as his backup. Typically I’d steer clear of such a combination, but there isn’t an attractive enough alternative to shift Brown over to his natural right side. Despite Brown’s plodding 3/3 speed, he does posses a 5/3 shot and 4 passing ability that make him a legitimate threat inside the opposing blue line.

Garth Butcher: 9 weight, 2/3 skating, 2/1 shot, 3 sth & pass, 2/4 aware, Shoots: R

Butcher provides nothing special on the right, hes a competent 4 d aware and possesses 2/3 skating which is as good as it gets for a 2nd option on this team. The main issue with Butcher is that he is a 9 weight, he isn’t very effective in covering for Brown when he goes on his offensive rushes and hes not much of a puck handler in his own zone.

Other Options:

Doug Crossman: 7 weight, 2/2 skating, 2/3 shot, 2 sth, 3 pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

A rather unappealing option off the bench, Crossman gives a slight weight advantage over Butcher, with neither being particularly skilled, this may be enough to warrant icing Crossman.

Curt Giles: 5 weight, 3/2 skating, 1/0 shot, 2 sth, 1 pass, 1/3 aware, Shoots: L

Despite appearing like a checking beast, Giles offensive skills are among the worst in the game. He could be playing a LOT of defense.

Defense Rating: (4/10)

Goalie Zone:

Curtis Joseph: 6 weight, 4/4 skating, 4 puck control, 3/3/4/4 save

There is a lot to like about Joseph, 4/4 speed, 6 weight, 4 puck control. It all looks pretty good until his save ratings are considered, 3/3/4/4 is fairly average for a goalie with a top 5 overall rating. More often than not, Joseph has surprisingly occupied the bottom levels of the goalie leader board in the stat keeping leagues around the community.

Goalie Rating: (5/10)

The Final Word: The problem with St. Louis is that they don’t truly excel in any one area, that problem is further compounded by the fact that Blues do have some legitimate weaknesses (speed, skating, defense). Quite simply a choice must be made, picking a line built around precision offense or defensive tenacity.

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Great review AJ

I'm loving these

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Well, here's my input about the team.

I think Janney is a little underrated as a center. Though his speed is similar to Shanahan, he's got good offensive awareness and nice stick handling and his shot is not half bad. You'd have to compensate for his passing, which is somewhat decent at best, but he can set up Hull nicely enough.

Bassen, huh? Well, unless you're a real expert, as AJ mentioned, it's hard to get used to a low-overall guy like him. Unless you were playing with Ottawa and Anaheim all the time, you'll have a hard time, so exploit what positives he's got and surprise people.

It's kinda surprising that CuJo is kinda low for coaches' priorities when they look for a goalie in drafts. I could name other goalies that are lower than him in that regard, though, so he isn't totally useless.

That's my opinon of the Blues, not counting my Blitz team, of course.

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Weight Bug Fix Analysis:

This team is really transformed by the weight bug fix. Players who were before critically flawed by their weight now become genuinely useful players in the slower, tougher, Blitz league.

Forwards:

Hull is now a legitimate scoring threat with his 9 weight. Paired with a good passer, he can win you games. Most defensemen can still take him down, but he'll be able to barge through most forwards.

Shanahan's still slow, but with 10 weight, he's tough to move from scoring areas, and his 4/5 shot make him a great one-timer finisher.

With the weight bug fix in place, Janney now becomes an option. he's a skilled player, but he's still very slow, and you'd hesitate to put both him and Shanahan on at the same time.

If Janney is too slow, you could try Emerson for some 4/4 speed up the wing. His 3 passing won't endear him to you too much, but no team can survive against non-expansion teams with two forwards with 3 speed.

Defense:

Brown now takes his place as a very respectable offensive-defenseman. 9 weight, a 5/3 shot, and 4 passing. His 2 in checking reduces his overall checking effectiveness to 7.6, however, so you'll need a tough defenseman to complement him.

Butcher is that tough D-man. 9/4 checking (10.1 effective) and 4 DfAw make him a good shutdown player, though his other relevant skills (2/3 skating, 3 passing) are average.

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Well, what should I say. St. Louis has one of the best, if not the best checking line in the game.

lw Korolev

c Ron Sutter

rw Rich Sutter

Absolutely great line. Korolev brings bags of skill and passing to this line, where the Brothers are just relentless skaters and chekckers. They can all find the twine and cause problems to the opposition.

Big problem with this team is their lack of control. They have players who get a penalty every other shift, like Hull, Butcher and Zombo. Baron is quite skillful and so is Hedican. Brown has a heavy shot on him, but he couldn't hit a house when standing two feet from the wall. A bit same with the "Golden Boy" Brett Hull. But they have some scoring power with Janney and Emerson, so it's a pretty decent team. I enjoy playing with them. Good ol' time hockey team.

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Loving the reviews so far, just haven't had much time to read them through or reply. Finally had a chance to read through this one.

This is a team that grows on you, and is one of my personal favorites. The only player I would add as someone worth trying for chemistry is Lee Norwood on defense. Typically I replace Butcher with Norwood at the start of the game. His ratings don't show off anything special, but for some reason he works well with the forward combo's that AJ mentioned above.

As mentioned, the lack of speed requires strategy elsewhere mainly in the passing/shooting departments. You can't expect to find yourself on many breakaways, though Emerson manages to break free sometimes. With Shanahan-Hull on the wings, you can go for the blueline slapshot mainly when skating North with either of them (keeping the shot on the ground). This works a decent amount of the time (going through the goalie's legs). I usually keep Emerson at center for bonus checking on faceoffs and in the slot.

-Evan

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CB Notes

The Blues can be a frustrating team to play with and play against due to it being almost necessary to ice 2 weight bug forwards with minimal skills. The introduction of the C-B check allows a little more flexibility with the lineup without leaving itself prone to be taken advantage of in their bad matchups.

Forwards

Brendan Shanahan: Icing Shanahan without a big hitting defender to support him now becomes a little less problematic. Shanahan is a big enough hitter with the C-B check to go up against some of middleweights with 4/4 skating in the league such as Brian Bellows and Geoff Sanderson. On offense he is still mainly just a trigger man from the wing, but the trade off to get his sniping just became much more palatable.

Brett Hull: A slight defensive boost allows Hull to have a fighting chance against all the lighter and faster forwards in the league. He still has 1 on 1 issues when it comes to scoring but if the opponent decides to go heavy with their lineup, Hull is stout enough in the middle to shake off a few body checks and wreak some havoc in the slot.

Nelson Emerson and Bob Bassen: Emerson is still a viable option, his 4 speed allows the Blues to play at a quicker pace but he will just need to keep his head up on his offensive excursions. Having both Bassen and Emerson now becomes a little redundant. It is probably advisable to throw a little extra skill into the battle against the heavier teams in the league since they can fight back a bit against the likes of a Bassen.

Craig Janney: Janney would be a much easier sell to put in the lineup if he was a little bit faster or a better passer. The C-B check hurts Janney as much as it helps him as now 9+ weight defenders can make a point to wipe Janney out of the play and his lackluster skating wont help him avoid the big defenders. It would be wise to keep Janney in mind if the appropriate matchup comes up. One such example would be against Montreal if they ice a lineup along the lines of Leeman-Lebeau-Savard. Janney can C-B check all of those Habs while Emerson and Bassen would be reduced to only poke checking.

Any advantages gained by Shanahan and Hull are quickly given back by the rest of the forwards. It is crucial to pay attention to the opponents lineup so the proper formation adjustment can be made.

Defense

Jeff Brown and Garth Butcher: Both of the default starters check in at 9 weight which allows them to key in on the lighter forwards in the league. It would be best to use some discretion as both guys are merely average skaters and it will be difficult for them to get back into position if they miss.

Doug Crossman and Curt Giles: Both of these light weights are terrible skaters and shouldn't be considered in any weight bug battles because if they aren't laying people out then they aren't doing any good in the lineup. If iced against heavyweights, then these two shouldn't be trying to do a whole lot with the puck as they are now slow moving guys just waiting to get hammered by the big boys.

Stephane Quintal: 11 weight, 2/2 skating, 2/0 shot, 3/3 sth and pass, 1/4 aware, Shoots: R

Quintal is the resident heavyweight for the Blues and can be useful if used wisely. In fact, he could be a bit of an improvement over Butcher when squared off any of the premier 8-9 weight forwards in the league. The skating can be problematic, but if used successfully then Quintal's puck moving skills should be just enough to kick start the offense.

Murray Baron: 10 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/1 shot, 2 sth, 1 pass, 1/2 aware, Shoots:L

Despite being more mobile than Quintal there are probably fewer instances where Baron would be an upgrade over Butcher. Baron's advantage over Butcher is in his ability to C-B check 8 weight players. Frankly, I can't really think of an 8 weight player who is enough of a game changer to warrant Baron coming in especially when we must consider the fact that Baron couldn't pass the salt at the kitchen table accurately.

Bottom Line

The Blues are to able ice the vastly superior skilled Shanahan with more consistency which will do wonders for aiding Hull on offense. The defense also receives a little bit of a boost too as the heavyweights have an extra tool in their box to go up against any of the weight buggers. While still fighting an uphill battle against most of the teams in the league, the Blues are more than capable of applying the screws to their opponent to keep them within striking distance.

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