ST. LOUIS - In the 2016 offseason, the Blues were fresh off their eighth 100-point season and their first trip to the Western Conference Final in 15 years.
Then, the metaphorical dominoes began to fall. Starting goaltender Brian Elliott was dealt to the Calgary Flames, free agents David Backes, Troy Brouwer and Steve Ott signed with Boston, Calgary, and Detroit, respectively. Head Coach Ken Hitchcock announced that 2016-17 would be his final season.
The end of the 2015-16 season had a stronger tinge of finality than most seasons. The Blues' core was changing. It's the nature of the beast for every NHL team, but a reality that hadn't faced the Blues in several years. In his postseason media availability last week, Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong spoke to that feeling.