St. Louis Blues analyst Darren Pang joined NHL Live via Arena Cam to share the latest on the Blues before their preseason game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Scottrade Center.
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong made improvements to a team that finished 52-23-7 last season, but were eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Entering a new season, which opens Oct. 9 against the New York Rangers, the vibe around St. Louis is positive.
The center position in particular was strengthened with the signing of free agent Paul Stastny.
"Now you look at the center ice position, you've got [David] Backes and Stastny and [Jori] Lehtera," Pang said. "That's the biggest part, I would say, with the St. Louis Blues hockey club right now, the middle of the ice is so much stronger than it had been."
The Blues also began training camp with a competition between goalies Brian Elliott and Jake Allen. According to Pang, Elliott has the edge.
"The sharpest guy to me has been Brian Elliott," Pang said. "I think whenever the general manager hands you the ball and you're at that phase of your career, instead of looking over your shoulder, always trying to prove to somebody that you can be that guy ??? it's his ball to run with it.
"If something were to happen where that doesn't go his way, Jake Allen's ready to go. He's ready to play right now and now it's his time to step up and play a little more consistently."