The reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues began their offseason in earnest this week after being eliminated from the post-season but the young, upstart Vancouver Canucks. For the Blues it's bound to be an offseason full of question marks. What happens to captain and pending free agent Alex Pietrangelo? Will Vladimir Tarasenko ever be the same again after a third shoulder surgery? What's the deal with Jordan Binnington, is his just a flash in the pan?
These are the types of questions that Blues GM Doug Armstrong will need to assess this summer, but don't be surprised if Armstrong cuts his players some slack. After all, he estimates that 20% of his team had been diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to entering the "Edmonton bubble" and he feels that it ultimately cost his team in its series against the Canucks.
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Wow... that's insane! I can't imagine having to compete in the NHL just weeks after going through a tough bout of coronavirus. If you think about it though, it makes total sense. Aside from Pietrangelo and Ryan O'Reilly, the Blues looked slow, sluggish and... well like a team who had just fought off a virus. Which, apparently they had.
It also makes you wonder if Armstrong won't judge his team's performance too harshly. Binnington in particular is getting shredded by Blues fans for going winless in the post-season. While it's unclear if Binnington is one of the Blues who in fact was diagnosed with COVID-19... well it would make a lot of sense, wouldn't it? Something to consider.