Blues fans were given a chance to vote in the third annual Blues Fan Awards at stlouisblues.com for several weeks in May and June 2011. Fans voted for the team's MVP, its best forward, best defenseman, unsung hero, biggest surprise, most popular player and the best moment from the 2010-11 season.
With thousands of votes submitted, the results are in...TEAM MVP - DAVID BACKES
It's no surprise that Blues fans chose David Backes
as the team's MVP during the 2010-11 season. The rugged, physical Blues forward did just about everything: He played in all 82 games and led the team in goals (31), assists (31) and points (62). He also finished second among all players in the League in plus-minus (+32), trailing only Boston's Zdeno Chara (+33).
Backes also made his first career NHL All-Star Appearance in January, where he racked up three assists and participated in the hardest shot competition (96.6 mph and 96.9 mph).
Perhaps the best news about Backes being a Team MVP is that he signed a new five-year contract extension during the season, meaning he'll be a candidate for this award for years to come.Runner-up:
TJ Oshie opened the season strong before suffering an ankle injury in November vs. Columbus. Just 10 games into the season, he had already accomplished a nine-game point streak (one goal, eight assists). He was sorely missed when he was injured and a full season without injuries could help Oshie grab a Team MVP award in the future.BEST FORWARD - DAVID BACKES
It makes sense that the team's MVP might also be its best forward, and that's the case here with David Backes
. He tied career highs with 31 goals and 31 assists while also setting a new career-high in points (62). He was one of just three NHL players this season to record at least 30 goals and 200 hits (the others are Alex Ovechkin and Brendan Morrow). In addition, Backes is the only player this season, along with Vancouver's Daniel Sedin, to have at least 30 goals, 30 assists and a +30 rating or better.
He is the only Blues player in franchise history to accomplish that feat.Runner-up: Chris Stewart
A newcomer via trade in February, Chris Stewart
became just the fifth player in franchise history to score two goals in his Blues' debut. He scored six times in his first five games, marking the best start to a Blues' career in franchise history. He finished tied for seventh among all NHL skaters in power play goals (12).BEST DEFENSEMAN - ALEX PIETRANGELO
In his first full season in the NHL, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo
looked like a seasoned pro. A first-round draft choice of the Blues in 2008, Pietrangelo played in 79 games, scoring 11 goals and 32 assists (43 points). He tied for first on the team in points by a defenseman (Kevin Shattenkirk
also had 43, although not all of those points came as a Blue) and became the third fastest defenseman in Blues' history to score 10 goals with the team.
Because he played in 17 NHL games over the previous two seasons before being sent back to the OHL, Pietrangelo is not eligible to be considered for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year. If he was eligible, it's a sure bet he'd be among the leading candidates to win it.Runner-up: Barret Jackman
Another example of a top-notch homegrown player is Barret Jackman
, who the Blues drafted in 1999. Under Al MacInnis' tutelage in his first season, Jackman won the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie in 2003 over Columbus' Rick Nash and Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg, and he continues to be a solid defensive defenseman for St. Louis. Jackman is just 81 games shy of tying Chris Pronger for fourth in games played by a Blues defenseman (598). UNSUNG HERO - ALEX STEENAlex Steen
takes home the fan vote for the team's Unsung Hero, a player who consistently contributes yet doesn't seem to get the credit he deserves. Steen is deserving of that honor. An assistant captain this past season, he finished with 20 goals and 31 assists, which was good for fourth on the team in points (51). He had five game-winning goals, which tied him for the lead with Matt' D'Agostini and Chris Stewart
, although not all of Stewart's game-winning goals came with the Blues.Runner-up: Matt D'Agostini
In a bit of a surprise, Matt' D'Agostini finished as a runner-up in this category. He contributed 21 goals this season for the Blues and finished with a plus-8 rating.BIGGEST SURPRISE - MATT D'AGOSTINI
Blues fans nailed their selection for the team's Biggest Surprise by selecting Matt D'Agostini
in a landslide. The forward was traded to the Blues during the 2009-10 season and never managed to crack the lineup that year. But he earned a spot the next summer in Training Camp and took advantage of the opportunity he was given in 2010-11.
D'Agostini played in all 82 games, finished fourth on the team in goals (21) and sixth in points (46). Both numbers were career-highs for D'Agostini, who now has played in 183 career NHL games.Runner-up: Chris Stewart
If fans voted for Chris Stewart
in this category because they were shocked to see him contribute offensively the way he did, they shouldn't be. Not one bit. Stewart led Colorado in goals (28) during the 2009-10 season and was on pace to top that before a broken hand sidelined him in the season's first half.
Despite the injury, he still tied his career-high with 28 goals, scoring 15 in just 26 games for the Blues.
If fans voted for Stewart as Biggest Surprise because they were surprised to see the trade that brought him to St. Louis, then so be it. We were all surprised.MOST POPULAR - TJ OSHIE
Is there anything else you can say about TJ Oshie and his popularity among Blues fans? He's been a fan favorite since the day the Blues drafted him in 2005. The team was criticized by the media for selecting him in the first round, but the Blues have proved them wrong. Oshie was sorely missed when he was out of the lineup with an ankle injury and continues to energize the team with his effort on a game-by-game basis.Runner-up: David Backes
No surprise here: it's easy to gain in popularity when you're the only player on the team to reach the 30-goal plateau this season. Backes' physical play also makes him a fan favorite and his leadership off the ice doesn't hurt, either. Plus, he's active in the community with his dog rescue program, and who doesn't like a feel good story about rescuing animals in need?
BEST MOMENT - BLUES SCORE 10 AT DETROIT
In one of the most memorable Blues games of late, the team went to Joe Louis Arena on March 30, 2011 and scored 10 times against the division-rival Red Wings. Cam Janssen had two points (a goal and an assist) and Chris Porter
scored twice in the game, which saw the Blues win 10-3. It was the first time the Red Wings had given up 10 goals in a game since 1993 and the first time since 1986 that they had given up eight goals in the first two periods of a game.
"Thank God it's over," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "It looked like it was never going to end there for awhile. Any way you look at it - more than a touchdown - it's ugly."
Want to re-live the special moment and see it again? Go ahead. Enjoy. VIDEORunner-up:
Oshie Scores from his Knees
You won't see goals much prettier than this: David Backes
spins in the offensive zone and finds Oshie, who falls to his knees reaching for the pass. Rather than lose the puck, Oshie guides it into the net and scores one of the best goals of the season in the Blues' final regular season game, a win against the Nashville Predators.
Watch it again. VIDEO
Now pick your jaw up off the floor.