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Team Reset

Blues acquire O'Reilly, Bozak, Maroon, Perron to boost offense

Trade Berglund, Sobotka, Thompson during busy offseason

by Brett Amadon / NHL.com Staff Writer

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the St. Louis Blues:

The St. Louis Blues have been one of the most active teams in the offseason after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2010-11.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

St. Louis acquired center Ryan O'Reilly in a trade from the Buffalo Sabres on July 1 and added to its forward depth with the signings of Patrick Maroon, David Perron and Tyler Bozak in free agency.

The Blues also signed free agent goaltender Chad Johnson after Carter Hutton agreed to a contract with the Sabres.

St. Louis (44-32-6, 94 points) finished fifth in the Central Division last season, losing to the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 in its final game with a playoff berth on the line.

Here is what the Blues look like today:

 

Key arrivals

Ryan O'Reilly, F: St. Louis traded forwards Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka and Tage Thompson, a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft for the 27-year-old. O'Reilly, who plays a 200-foot game, had 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists) in 81 games last season for the Sabres. He will help on face-offs -- his 59.98 winning percent last season was second in the NHL behind Antoine Vermette of the Anaheim Ducks (60.00) -- as well as the power play and penalty kill. O'Reilly has five seasons remaining on a seven-year contract. … Tyler Bozak, F: The 32-year-old signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Blues on July 1 as an unrestricted free agent after playing his first nine NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He had 43 points (11 goals, 32 assists) in 81 games last season and likely will play center on the third line. … David Perron, F: After he had an NHL career-high 66 points (16 goals, 50 assists) in 70 games for the Vegas Golden Knights last season, the 30-year-old signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Blues on July 1 as a UFA. Selected by the Blues in the first round (No. 26) in the 2007 NHL Draft, this is Perron's third stint with St. Louis; he played 340 games from 2007-13 and 82 in 2016-17. … Chad Johnson, G: The 32-year-old signed a one-year contract worth $1.75 million July 1 as a UFA after he went 10-16-3 with a 3.55 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in 36 games (29 starts) with the Sabres last season. He is likely to start the season as Jake Allen's backup. … Patrick Maroon, F: The 30-year-old St. Louis native signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Blues on July 10 as a UFA after had 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) in 74 games with the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers last season.

Video: Patrick Maroon signs a one-year deal with the Blues

 

Key departures

Carter Hutton, G: He went 17-7-3 and led the NHL with a 2.09 GAA and .931 save percentage in 32 games (26 starts) last season. Hutton agreed to a three-year, $8.25 million contract with the Sabres as a UFA on July 1. … Tage Thompson, F: Selected by St. Louis in the first round (No. 26) in the 2016 NHL Draft, he had nine points (three goals, six assists) in 41 games as a rookie last season. … Patrik Berglund, F: He scored 26 points (17 goals, nine assists) in 57 games last season. … Vladimir Sobotka, F: He had 31 points, including a NHL career-high 11 goals, in 81 games last season. The 31-year-old also was third on the Blues in hits (127) and face-off winning percent (54.3).

 

On the cusp

Robert Thomas, F: Selected by the Blues in the first round (No. 20) in the 2017 NHL Draft, Thomas, who turned 19 on July 2, had 75 points (24 goals, 51 assists) in 49 games with London and Hamilton in the Ontario Hockey League last season. There's a chance he could play in the bottom six this season. …  Jordan Schmaltz, D: He had one assist in 13 games for St. Louis in 2017-18 and could take the next step this season. In 31 games in the American Hockey League last season, Schmaltz, who turns 25 on Oct. 8 and was selected by the Blues in the first round (No. 25) in the 2012 NHL Draft, ranked second among San Antonio defensemen with 23 points (five goals, 18 assists). … Jordan Kyrou, F: Selected by the Blues in the second round (No. 35) in the 2016 draft, the 20-year-old finished third in the OHL with 109 points (39 goals, 70 assists) in 56 games for Sarnia last season. … Sammy Blais, F: The 22-year-old split time between St. Louis and San Antonio last season and had three points (one goal, two assists) in 11 NHL games and 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists) in 42 AHL games. The Blues have depth at forward, but Blais, who was selected by St. Louis in the sixth round (No. 176) in the 2014 NHL Draft, could crack the bottom six.

Video: Breaking down a busy offseason for the Blues

 

What they still need

Consistent goaltending. Allen went 27-25-3 with a 2.75 GAA and .906 save percentage, but he was 9-13-1 with a 2.99 GAA and .896 save percentage after Jan. 1. Over that stretch, he ranked last in the NHL in save percentage and was tied for last in wins among goaltenders who played at least 25 games.

 

Fantasy focus

O'Reilly brings a new look to the Blues' top six and will help take scoring pressure off the top line of Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko. An overlooked part of O'Reilly's game is his ability to produce on the power play. His 31 power-play goals over the past three seasons led the Sabres. He should help the Blues improve on the man-advantage after they finished next to last in the NHL in 2017-18 (15.4 percent), and he could potentially gain exposure to Tarasenko in the process. The change of scenery will likely make O'Reilly a fringe top 100 player in Yahoo worth drafting in later rounds. -- Rob Reese

 

Projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Vladimir Tarasenko

David Perron -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Alexander Steen

Robby Fabbri -- Tyler Bozak -- Dmitrij Jaskin

Patrick Maroon -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Nikita Soshnikov

Joel Edmundson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Vince Dunn -- Colton Parayko

Jordan Schmaltz -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Chad Johnson

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