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The 2016–17 St. Louis Blues season was the 50th season for the National Hockey League franchise that was established on June 5, 1967.[2] The team played in its first Winter Classic game on January 2, 2017, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4–1 at Busch Stadium with 46,556 in attendance.[3] It was only the third time in the nine Winter Classic games where the home team won. It was the Blues' first participation in a NHL Winter Classic game, while the Blackhawks lost for the third time in three appearances in the event.

2016–17 St. Louis Blues
Division3rd Central
Conference5th Western
2016–17 record46–29–7
Home record24–12–5
Road record22–17–2
Goals for235
Goals against218
Team information
General ManagerDoug Armstrong
CoachKen Hitchcock (10/12–2/1)
Mike Yeo (Feb. 1–present)
CaptainAlex Pietrangelo
Alternate captainsKevin Shattenkirk (Oct–Feb)
Paul Stastny
Alexander Steen
Vladimir Tarasenko
ArenaScottrade Center
Average attendance19,539 7th of 30 (104.6%)[1]
Minor league affiliate(s)Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Team leaders
GoalsVladimir Tarasenko (39)
AssistsVladimir Tarasenko
Jaden Schwartz (36)
PointsVladimir Tarasenko (75)
Penalty minutesRyan Reaves (104)
Plus/minusJaden Schwartz (+15)
WinsJake Allen (33)
Goals against averageCarter Hutton (2.39)

Contents

Off-seasonEdit

After associate coach Brad Shaw and assistant coach Kirk Muller decided to leave for other opportunities in late May 2016, Mike Yeo was announced on June 13, 2016, to replace coach Ken Hitchcock after his last year starting in the 2017–18 season. Yeo joined the Blues as associate coach, while Rick Wilson joined the staff as an assistant coach. Ray Bennett (assistant coach), Jim Corsi (goaltender coach) and Sean Ferrell (video coach) also returned. Yeo spent the majority of the last five seasons as the head coach of the Minnesota Wild, leading the club to a 173–132–44 record, including a 46–28–8 mark in 2014–15, which was the second-best record in Wild history. Yeo also guided the Wild to three postseason appearances, including back-to-back trips to the second round in 2014 and 2015.[4]

The Blues have signed restricted free agent Dmitrij Jaskin, and unrestricted free agents Scottie Upshall and Kyle Brodziak. Minor leaguer Jordan Caron was also signed.[5]

Steve Thomas was added as an assistant coach on June 30. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning.[6]

Training campEdit

Regular seasonEdit

OctoberEdit

NovemberEdit

DecemberEdit

On December 28, Robby Fabbri became just the second Blues' player to record a hat-trick before the age of 21, joining Bernie Federko.[7][8]

JanuaryEdit

On January 20, two days after his 25th birthday, the Blues recalled goalie Pheonix Copley from their minor league affiliate Chicago Wolves. He made his debut (in relief) with the Blues on February 27, 2016.[9] He will make the first start in his career in the next game (January 21) against the Winnipeg Jets. He was 11–4–2 with the Chicago Wolves this season, and ranks ninth in the AHL in goals-against average (2.32) and save-percentage (.920).[10] In the January 21 game, Copley, playing almost 59 minutes, gave up five goals on 29 shots, with the Blues losing 5–3.[11] Jake Allen did not travel with the team to Winnipeg for the game, staying home to be with his newborn daughter. He will rejoin the team on Monday, January 23, for the remaining two games of the road trip.[12] He was pulled for the fourth time in six starts after his poor showing on January 19, allowing four goals on only 10 shots against the league-leading Washington Capitals (30–9–6, 66 pts.).[13] He presently has a 2.85 GAA with a .897 Save percentage. In the 2015–16 season, he had a 2.35 GAA with a .920 save percentage.

After his one start on January 21, Copley was assigned to the Chicago Wolves on January 25.[14]

FebruaryEdit

Ken Hitchcock was relieved of his duties as head coach by GM Doug Armstrong on February 1. Mike Yeo was promoted from associate coach. He was scheduled to be head coach next season. Hitchcock served as the head coach of the Blues since November 8, 2011. Over six seasons, he led the Blues to a 248–124–41 regular season record and ranks second on the Blues' all-time regular season wins list and fourth in NHL history overall with 781 career regular season wins.[15] Hitchcock, 65, is 781–473–111 with 88 ties in 20 seasons with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Blues. He's fourth all-time in the NHL in coaching victories, behind Scotty Bowman (1,244), Joel Quenneville (831) and Al Arbour (782). His 1,453 games coached are fifth. He won the Stanley Cup as coach of the Stars in 1999 and made the Cup Final in 2000, losing to the New Jersey Devils in six games. His teams made the playoffs 13 times in 14 full seasons.[16] Goalie coach Jim Corsi has also been relieved of his duties. Martin Brodeur and Ty Conklin will share Goalie Coach Jim Corsi's previous duties for the rest of the year.[17]

Hitchcock is one of the best coaches in NHL history, and the Blues have been one of the best teams in the NHL under him. Since the start of the 2011–12 season, when Armstrong hired Hitchcock after 13 games, the Blues have had a .644 point percentage. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins (.656) and Chicago Blackhawks (.648) have been better. The Blues went to the Western Conference Final last season and came within two wins of their first Stanley Cup Final since 1970. But the Blues still never have won the Cup, and they have gone 9–14–1 since a 15–7–4 start. Since December 8, their point percentage is .395; only the Colorado Avalanche (.196) and Arizona Coyotes (.375) have been worse. They are clinging to the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, in danger of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2010–11.[18]

The Blues retired Bob Plager's No. 5 uniform in a ceremony on February 2,[19] alongside his brother Barclay's No. 8, Al MacInnis' No. 2, Brett Hull's No. 16, Bernie Federko's No. 24, Bob Gassoff's No. 3, and Brian Sutter's No. 11.[20] His No. 5 is the seventh jersey to be retired by the Blues and the 123rd among the NHL's 30 teams. Bob and Barclay Plager join only one other pair of brothers to have their jerseys retired by the same team: Maurice "The Rocket" and Henri Richard of the Montreal Canadiens. He joined the club as a 21-year-old in an expansion draft trade with the New York Rangers in 1967 and became an instant fan-favorite thanks to his tenacious style of defense and his famous hip checks. He played 10 seasons in St. Louis, racking up 615 regular season games, 141 points and 762 penalty minutes.

He retired from the league after the 1977–78 season, and has since held many positions with the organization, including head coach, vice president, director of professional scouting and director of player development. Today, he works in the Blues' Community Relations department, serving as an ambassador in the community not just for the Blues, but for St. Louis, the NHL and the game of hockey in general.[21]

Mike Yeo began his tenure as the 25th head coach in franchise history on February 2. Yeo spent ten seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and captured the 2009 Stanley Cup as an assistant. He then moved on to Minnesota, where he spent five seasons as head coach and led the Minnesota Wild to three postseason berths, including consecutive trips to the second round in 2014 and 2015.[22]

Robby Fabbri (C) was injured midway through the first period in a February 4 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, suffering a torn ACL on his left knee. He is lost for the remainder of the regular season (30 games) and possible playoffs. He will not be able to play on the ice again until training camp for the 2017–18 season starting in September. He scored 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points in 51 games played. The Blues recalled forwards Kenny Agostino (LW) and Magnus Paajarvi (LW) from the Chicago Wolves.[23]

Carter Hutton and Jake Allen scored back-to-back shutouts on the road on February 6–7 of the Philadelphia Flyers (2–0), and Ottawa Senators (6–0), respectively. Hutton stopped 26 shots, and Allen stopped 30. Rookie Ivan Barbashev scored his first NHL goal in the waning minutes of the third period in Ottawa.[24]

Patrik Berglund (C) scored the first "hat trick" of his career in a 4-2 win (February 11) over the Montreal Canadiens for their fourth consecutive win for the Blues in a tough five-game road trip, pushing them into the top three in the Central Division's guarantee of a playoff spot with 63 points, three points ahead of the next two teams. David Perron (LW) scored the other goal, and had an assist. Jake Allen made 28 saves on 30 shots. Coach Mike Yeo is 5-1-0 since replacing Ken Hitchcock on February 1.[25]

Jake Allen (G) was named Second Star of the Week on February 13, for the week of February 6-12. Allen, went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average, a .967 save percentage and his 13th career shutout against the Ottawa Senators (February 7). His two other wins were against the Toronto Maple Leafs (2-1 OT, 31 saves, February 9), and Montreal Canadiens (February 11).[26]

On February 17, the Blues activated Kyle Brodziak (C) two weeks ahead of schedule. He suffered a right foot injury on January 24, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and was placed on injured reserve two days later. He was expected to miss five weeks, but missed three weeks and 10 games. Wade Megan (C) was reassigned to the Chicago Wolves.[27]

Paul Stastny (C) returned to the lineup on February 20, after missing four games with a lower-body injury against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 9.[28]

MarchEdit

The Blues clinched a playoff spot on March 31, in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The Blues (42-28-7) needed one point to qualify for their sixth consecutive trip to the postseason and 41st in their 50-year history. They had a 6-0-2 record in their past eight games to clinch the playoffs. They have a two-point lead over the Nashville Predators for third place in the Central Division. Each has five games remaining.[29] This will mark the Blues' seventh playoff appearance in the last 12 seasons. The club previously reached the playoffs in 25 consecutive years between 1979 and 2004. They joined the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers as the only teams to have reached the playoffs in each of the last six seasons.[30]

AprilEdit

On April 8, the Blues clinched third place in the Central Division with a 5-4 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. The Blues (46-29-7; 99 pts., 235-218 GF-GA) will play the second-place Minnesota Wild (49-25-8; 106 pts., 266-208 GF-GA) in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The playoffs begin on Wednesday, April 12 with the first two games in St. Paul.[31]

Game 1 (Apr. 12) went to the Blues in a remarkable 51-save effort by goalie Jake Allen. The 51-saves were the fourth-most ever by a Blues goaltender in a playoff game, helping the Blues to a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory against Minnesota. Only Curtis Joseph (61 saves and 57 saves), and Ed Staniowski (54 saves) have posted more. Defenseman Joel Edmundson scored the winner in overtime.[32] Recently acquired (C) Vladimir Sobotka gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 6:21 of the second period. Sobotka played in his first playoff game with the Blues since 2014, after spending the three seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. Zach Parise of the Wild ended Allen's 1-0 shutout bid when he scored with 22 seconds remaining in the third period, forcing the overtime frame. Edmundson scored the winner at 17:48 of the overtime.[33]

Paul Stastny (C) was activated before the fifth game on April 22, after missing 14 games; 10 in the regular season and the first 4 in the playoffs against the Wild. He scored the Blues' third goal in the third period, giving the team a 3-1 lead. Magnus Paajarvi (LW) wins the series with an overtime goal at 9:42. Jake Allen saves 34 of 37 shots in the 4-3 win. The Blues now play the Nashville Predators (41-29-12; 94 pts., 240-224 GF-GA), who swept the Chicago Blackhawks.[34]

On April 23, the Blues assigned Jordan Schmaltz (D) to the Chicago Wolves, and recalled prospect Thomas Vannelli (D), 22, who was acquired in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft #47 in round 2.[35][36]

StandingsEdit

Divisional standingsEdit

Central Division
Pos Team GP W L OTL ROW GF GA GD Pts
1 z – Chicago Blackhawks 82 50 23 9 46 244 213 +31 109
2 x – Minnesota Wild 82 49 25 8 46 266 208 +58 106
3 x – St. Louis Blues 82 46 29 7 44 235 218 +17 99
4 x – Nashville Predators 82 41 29 12 39 240 224 +16 94
5 Winnipeg Jets 82 40 35 7 37 249 256 −7 87
6 Dallas Stars 82 34 37 11 33 223 262 −39 79
7 Colorado Avalanche 82 22 56 4 21 166 278 −112 48
Source: National Hockey League
x – Clinched playoff spot; z – Clinched conference.

Conference standingsEdit

Top 3 (Central Division)
Pos Team GP W L OTL ROW GF GA GD Pts
1 z – Chicago Blackhawks 82 50 23 9 46 244 213 +31 109
2 x – Minnesota Wild 82 49 25 8 46 266 208 +58 106
3 x – St. Louis Blues 82 46 29 7 44 235 218 +17 99
Source: National Hockey League
x – Clinched playoff spot; z – Clinched conference.
Top 3 (Pacific Division)
Pos Team GP W L OTL ROW GF GA GD Pts
1 y – Anaheim Ducks 82 46 23 13 43 223 200 +23 105
2 x – Edmonton Oilers 82 47 26 9 43 247 212 +35 103
3 x – San Jose Sharks 82 46 29 7 44 221 201 +20 99
Source: National Hockey League
x – Clinched playoff spot; y – Clinched division.
Western Conference Wild Card
Pos Div Team GP W L OTL ROW GF GA GD Pts
1 PA x – Calgary Flames 82 45 33 4 41 226 221 +5 94
2 CE x – Nashville Predators 82 41 29 12 39 240 224 +16 94
3 CE Winnipeg Jets 82 40 35 7 37 249 256 −7 87
4 PA Los Angeles Kings 82 39 35 8 37 201 205 −4 86
5 CE Dallas Stars 82 34 37 11 33 223 262 −39 79
6 PA Arizona Coyotes 82 30 42 10 24 197 260 −63 70
7 PA Vancouver Canucks 82 30 43 9 26 182 243 −61 69
8 CE Colorado Avalanche 82 22 56 4 21 166 278 −112 48
Source: National Hockey League
x – Clinched playoff spot.

Schedule and resultsEdit

Pre-seasonEdit

Regular seasonEdit

2016–17 Game Log[38]

Legend:   Win (2 points)   Loss (0 points)   Overtime/shootout loss (1 point)

PlayoffsEdit

2017 Stanley Cup playoffs

Legend:   Win   Loss

Player statisticsEdit

Statistics

SkatersEdit

Final as of April 9, 2017

Denotes player spent time with another team before joining the Blues. Stats reflect time with the Blues only.
Denotes player was traded mid-season. Stats reflect time with the Blues only.

GoaltendersEdit

Final game on April 9, 2017 [40]

Regular season
Player GP GS TOI W L OT GA GAA SA SV% SO G A PIM
Jake Allen 61 60 3,418:19 33 20 5 138 2.42 1,620 .915 4 0 1 4
Carter Hutton 30 21 1,459:03 13 8 2   58 2.39    663 .913 4 0 1 4
Pheonix Copley ( -2/27)   1   1      58:56 0 1 0     5 5.08     29 .828 0 0 0 0

Denotes player spent time with another team before joining the Blues. Stats reflect time with the Blues only.
Denotes player was traded mid-season. Stats reflect time with the Team only.

PlayoffsEdit

Final game on May 7[41]

Playoffs
Player GP GS TOI W L GA GAA SA SV% SO G A PIM
Jake Allen 11 11    674:56 6 5  22 1.96  336 .935 0 0 0 0
Carter Hutton 0 0    00:00 0 0  0 0.00   0 .000 0 0 0 0

RosterEdit

Awards and MilestonesEdit

AwardsEdit

MilestonesEdit