Moving right along, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of these St. Louis Blues Lists. Here’s where I earn my keep.
While these lists have been entertaining, they have also been difficult. Some more than others, but this particular St. Louis Blues list was quite vexing.
Several players made valiant efforts and good cases to be on here. In the end, though, choices had to be made.
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27. Alex Pietrangelo
In the end, this may have been one of the easiest choices in today’s list. There were some decent players to wear 27, but nobody could outdo Alex Pietrangelo even though he’s barely halfway into his career.
Craig Patrick was probably the most well known name to wear it. However, he didn’t spend much time with the Blues and made his name elsewhere.
Ted Irvine made a case for himself. He only played two years here at the end of his career, but he managed over 50 points. Irvine, though, is now probably more famous for being professional wrestlings Chris Jericho’s father now.
May 21, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) shoots against the San Jose Sharks in the first period of game four of the Western Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
No, it had to be Pietrangelo. He’s put up an average of a point every other game. He has only been a minus-player twice in his career.
When you look at his adjusted point shares, his career stacks up pretty well with a guy named Al MacInnis. That’s not to say he’ll end up in the Hall of Fame like Mac, but the idea isn’t too far fetched if Petro keeps at his current pace.
Pietrangelo isn’t slowing down anytime soon either. His minutes have gone up with each season.
After almost averaging a half hour of playoff time per game, he was named the team captain. The responsibility won’t weight him down and he’s going to cement himself as the best 27 for years to come.
26. Jim Roberts
Despite what many of today’s fans feel about the guy, I honestly considered giving this to Paul Stastny. No, he hasn’t lived up to our lofty expectations, but 95 points in two injury plagued seasons isn’t too bad either. I’m sure plenty will argue he should have 120 or some such nonsense.
Anyway, Jimmy Roberts gets the pick here and not just because he was one of the original Blues. The guy started out as a defenseman for the Montreal Canadiens before he transitioned to the wing in St. Louis.
He immediately took to the forward role and started pumping out 30 point seasons with regularity. He had four in a row in the Blues formative years and helped the team make three straight Cup Finals appearances.
Unfortunately for us, he won all his championships elsewhere. Roberts was a five-time champion, but all of them came with Montreal.
If we wanted to get technical, I still could have used Stastny in this spot since Roberts wore 6 the first time around with the Blues. 26 was his number in his final year.
I will always contend, at the time of writing this, Stastny has done more in less time. However, Roberts was a steady player on some pretty special teams.
25. Chuck Lefley
I was hoping for a megastar to be on the list to represent my favorite number. Chuck Lefley doesn’t fit that bill, but he still put up some solid numbers for the Blues in some years when the team was pretty bad.
Lefley was another Montreal cast off, though he came along much later than the original crop. Despite winning two championships with the Canadiens, he had much more personal success in St. Louis.
Lefley scored 23 goals and 49 points in 57 games after being traded here. He then exploded for a career year of 43 goals and 83 points in 1975-76.
Alas, it was a brilliant flash and then it was gone. He returned to 41 points the following year and then trailed off into nonexistence over the next two.
Sadly, Lefley never got to experience any team success with the Blues. They lost in the first round or missed the playoffs every year he played except one. The year the Blues finally made the second round (1980-81), he only played two games and none in the postseason.
Still, Lefley managed almost 200 points in five seasons with the Blues.
24. Bernie Federko
Could there be any other choice here? I mean when your jersey is hanging from the rafters and you’re pretty much the Blues version of Mr. Cub, it’s impossible to make an argument for anyone else.
Bernie Federko was drafted by the Blues in 1976 and barely saw a lick of minor league hockey. In fact, 42 games in the CHL – in Kansas City – was all the minor league experience Federko would need.
Jan 29, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Former members of the Saint Louis Blues , from left to right Brett Hull , Martin Brodeur , Bernie Federko and Al MacInnis pose for the media after Brodeur announced his retirement from the NHL during a press conference at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports
He scored 69 points in 42 games down there and gave the Blues no choice but to pull him up. He finished the NHL season that year with a paltry 23 points in 31 games (sarcasm used).
Federko never looked back after that. He scored 41 points in his first full season and never again dipped below 50 the rest of his career.
He shot straight up the scoring charts and had seven of eight seasons end with 90 or more points. Four of those years saw him score 100 or more points.
Unfortunately for Federko, he played in an era of some of the giants of the game. Thus, he never got much national recognition. Despite having several 100-plus point seasons, he never finished higher than fifth in the voting for any awards.
Nevertheless, he was awarded by the Blues. Almost immediately after he retired from the game, the Blues retired his number. On March 16, 1991, his number went into the rafters of the St. Louis Arena and now hangs in Scottrade Center.
Federko, for all his talents, could never get the Blues over the hump. Even with Brett Hull by his side, the team just couldn’t find that final win.
Still, if not for a guy named Hull, Federko would be the team’s leading scorer. If not for a team chalk full of Hall of Famers in Calgary, Federko might have played in a Cup Final in 1985-86.
The man known as Bernie now cheers the team on from the pressbox. He still has faith they will hoist the Cup and he will be the first in line to see that parade.
23. Rich Sutter
The Sutter family and the Blues seem to go together like milk and cereal. You can’t have one without the other.
At one point, it seemed as though the entire family was suiting up for the Blues. Rich Sutter came to the team in 1989-90 as part of a trade from the Vancouver Canucks.
Joining brother Ron, he immediately set to work. The Sutters were never flashy.
They did their job. They tried to help the team in any way possible, even if it meant spending a moment or two in the sin bin.
Rich didn’t light the world on fire in St. Louis. He never scored more than 27 points or 16 goals.
He was a cog, but he knew what his role was and he filled it. His efforts actually got him into the Selke voting in 1991, though he finished outside the top 10.
Sutter would leave the Blues for the hated Blackhawks, claimed in the waiver draft of 1993. However, he only played one full season before bouncing around to three teams in one year and calling it a career.
22. Jorgen Pettersson
It’s not often you don’t get drafted and still manage to find your way into the NHL in your early/mid-20’s. Jorgen Pettersson did just that.
The Blues found Pettersson playing in the Swedish league and brought him over when he was 24. He made an immediate impact scoring 37 goals and 73 points.
Playing with Federko probably didn’t hurt, but Pettersson was a dynamic player for a brief time. He scored 35 or more goals in his first three seasons. In today’s game he’d be a millionaire for that.
Unfortunately, he began to tail off. Still scoring 62 and 55 points was not enough.
The Blues packaged him with Mike Liut and sent them to Hartford. St. Louis got Mike Johnson and Greg Millen in return.
It was not a bad haul and Pettersson would only play one more NHL season. Still, it was a bit of a sour end to a career that started so bright, even if a bit late.
Pettersson only played in North America until he was 29. He finished several more years in Sweden, but never really regained his form outside of a 60-plus point year in the Swedish third division.
He may have been a flash in the pan, but he was entertaining even if only for a short time.
21. Jeff Brown
How exactly do you separate Mike Zuke and Jeff Brown? Zuke had more points in less games. Brown had more points overall and also more goals. Give it to the d-man.
Zuke had some great times in St. Louis with a couple years scoring more than 60 points. However, Brown was scoring close to and over 60 points as a defender.
He wasn’t just a scorer either. People knew not to mess with Brown or to mess with his teammates when he was on the ice.
He stayed out of the penalty box and wasn’t much of a fighter. Still, he had this presence about him, this look, that let people know better.
Brown was a heck of a player. In a season in which he missed nine games he still scored 25 goals and 78 points. Those are totals any forward would be envious of, let alone a defender.
Unfortunately for Brown, he played in the Ron Caron era. Caron could not sit still at the trade deadline and Brown was sent to Vancouver for Craig Janney late in the 1993-94 season.
In hindsight, it wasn’t a bad deal. Brown never regained his form he had with the Blues.
He got into coaching after his playing days were done and returned to St. Louis to guide the Bandits to an NAHL championship.
20. Alexander Steen
This one was actually a really tough choice. How do you go against a two-time All-Star in Gary Sabourin?
The man played seven years in St. Louis. He finished his time here with 136 goals and 267 points.
Somewhat surprising to me, Alexander Steen has done better. In eight seasons in the Lou, Steen has 147 goals and 355 points.
May 17, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Alexander Steen (20) against the San Jose Sharks in game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoff at Scottrade Center. The Sharks won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
In seasons where he has played a full year, or close to it, Steen has failed to score 50 points with the Blues only once. He goes about it so quietly that you forget about him.
Even in the 2015-16 season, nobody was praising Steen up and down for his scoring touch. He still managed 17 goals and 52 points while limited by an early injury and also hampered by a bad shoulder late.
Ultimately, his production should not be a complete surprise. Steen was a serious candidate to be the Blues’ captain. He just goes about things in such a calm, steady manner that you end up forgetting about him and almost taking him for granted.
He has put up top line quality numbers even though he’s been up and down the lineup. Now, he’s taking more of a leadership role and fans will be hoping the numbers stay the same.
19. Brendan Shanahan
Oddly enough, I had thought someone would bump Brendan Shanahan from this spot. It just seemed as though his four years here would not be enough, but really there were no serious contenders.
Shanahan had some of his best personal years in St. Louis – from a playing standpoint that is. He only scored fewer than 30 goals once and that was in the lockout year where he still managed 20 goals in 41 games.
Shanahan fit in very well with Hull, even if he didn’t with some of the other teammates. He scored 50 goals twice and had over 100 points once.
He finished his Blues career with impressive numbers. 306 points in 277 games and 156 goals.
Of course, he put up better career numbers with Detroit, but his averages were better in St. Louis. It was a shame that such a talented player had to leave, but they all seemed to go in the end in those days.
On the bright side, the trade of Shanahan landed a Hall of Fame defenseman in Chris Pronger. Shanahan isn’t beloved like some other players, but he is still a pretty popular player even given his short stint in the city.
18. Doug Gilmour
Speaking of guys with a short stint, relative to his career, Doug Gilmour fits that bill. Gilmour was drafted by the Blues in 1982 and a year later was knocking down doors.
Gilmour rattled off three straight 20-plus goal and 50-plus point seasons in a row. Then he scored 102 and 86 points coupled with 42 and 36 goals.
Like several other players on the list, Gilmour is a bit of a cheat for me. He only wore 18 for his rookie season and then switched to 9. He isn’t going to be the best 9, so I squeezed him in at 18.
Regardless of number, Gilmour was a special player. He won a title with Calgary and exploded for a couple 100 point seasons in Toronto.
It was a shame he was dealt away, but when legal troubles followed him, it made sense for all involved.
From a pure hockey perspective, it would have been interesting if he had stayed. Can you imagine having top-two center combos of Gilmour and Federko for longer and then Gilmour and Oates?
Sure, you can only speculate if certain trades would have happened if Gilmour stayed, but it’s hard not to wonder. Gilmour played until he was 39 and stayed a solid playoff scorer too. If only he could have stayed, what might have been.