angryjay93 Posted October 29, 2009 Report Share Posted October 29, 2009 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. 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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