COACH Davis Payne (3rd season)
LAST SEASON 38-33-11 (11th in West)
KEY ADDITIONS C Jason Arnott, D Kent Huskins, RW Jamie Langenbrunner
KEY LOSSES G Ty Conklin, RW Cam Janssen
The Blues' youth movement may finally be over. "Our younger players aren't all that young [anymore]," G.M. Doug Armstrong says. "They're third-, fourth- and fifth-year pros, and for our forwards now, we can't look at youth as any type of excuse."
St. Louis endured yet another season of growing pains in 2010--11, emphasis on pains. During a campaign in which they failed to make the postseason for the fifth time in the last six years, the Blues lost forwards T.J. Oshie, David Perron and Andy McDonald to long-term injuries, and a 20-12-5 start ended in an 18-21-6 finish.
That prompted Armstrong to look for more experienced and mature players to round out his roster. He signed free-agent veterans Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner, both forwards, as well as defenseman Kent Huskins—all three Stanley Cup champions. Armstrong also added center Scott Nichol, who as a member of the Sharks played in the last two Western Conference finals.
Of course, it will still be up to the youngsters—or rather, the not-so-youngsters—to carry this team. "[After] the pain you have to go through building [a club] through the draft," Armstrong says, "it's time now to reap the rewards of that patience."