ST. LOUIS - Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson, much like partner Colton Parayko, was able to take a tremendous jump in his second NHL season.
Edmundson doubled his goal total from the regular season (three) in the playoffs, hitting it in 11 games that took 69 in the regular season to accomplish; he also finished plus-12 in the playoffs.
Part of the 3-4 defensive pairing, the Brandon, Manitoba native Edmundson talks about his season, the Blues' season, moving forward and what youth meant to the Blues and what it will mean moving forward:
How do you reflect on this season?
That final stretch and the playoffs was an exciting time for us. I think our group did a good job of kind of taking over the situation. That's the type of squad we have in here. The leadership, the older guys, the young guys, it's a good group of guys in here. We're looking forward to the future.
Personally, what started going well for you?
I don't know, it's playoff hockey. Something gets the best of me. I thought our whole backend, even the goalies, everyone just had a good playoffs. For myself, I stuck to my own game, got lucky on a couple goals, which kind of helps. I'm just happy I could help the team get the success.
Goals aside, were you and Parayko a shutdown pair out there?
Yeah, before every game, we're talking with each other reminding reminding ourselves that we're shutdown defensemen. Let's just do our job, make 'Snake's life easy. That's our mindset going into every game and if we can chip in offensively, that's just a bonus.
How much more comfortable were you this year than your rookie year?
A lot. Just having a full year of experience. With going through playoffs last year, definitely the confidence was there this year. I think that's what's going to be good for our group moving on into the future.
You expect that to grow next year as you come back?
Yeah, for sure. Every year, it just keeps on getting better. It's good to see the young guys get into the lineup in playoffs. They all played really good hockey. That gets us pretty excited, too.
Do you not feel like a young guy anymore?
I don't know. Right now, the body feels pretty old with all the wear and tear, but I feel like I've been around long enough where I can definitely show and lead the way for the younger guys.
Was there a chip on this group's shoulder with all the players you lost coming in, people saying you might not make the playoffs? Was there pride in what you were able to accomplish?
Yeah, we lost some key guys. 'Brouw' (Troy Brouwer) and 'Moose' (Brian Elliott), guys like that last year. I think 'Army' did a good job of filling their spots. We still believed we had a team that could win the Cup this year, so it's still disappointing. We lose a guy like (Robby) Fabbri midway through the season, it kept on piling up. (Alexander) Steen was playing through injuries. We felt like we still had a team to do it, but we've still got to be proud of that and we can walk away with our heads held high.
Even trading Kevin Shattenkirk, it was another sign of waving the white flag. How were you able to regroup?
It was either pack it in or put our head down and get back to work. We knew what was at stake and we wanted to make that playoff push, so we put our heads down and that's when the battle started.
Are you happy for Parayko going to the World Championship?
Yeah, it's not really a surprise. He's a helluva defender. It's really good to see that and it's a young guy gets to go play, it's going to be a good experience and hopefully he can bring that experience back to this team next year. I wish him nothing but the best of luck. I've got a couple guys on the team that I know. It should be a fun time over there.
What does the summer have in store for you?
My summers are pretty boring. I just go back to Manitoba. There's not much to do there on the weekends so I just try to travel every other weekend, go see my buddies or something. Just a lot of hours in the gym but also some rest time, too.
Is it exciting knowing this roster could all be back next year?
Yeah, I think that's what keeps us excited. This is the group that's going to be here for the next few years. We're a tight-knit group in here. We have a whole lot of fun. We've just got to carry that over to the ice and it should be a fun training camp.
What's the feeling of the expansion draft knowing someone in here will be going to Las Vegas?
Yeah, that's the reality of it, but I don't think anyone's really thinking too much about it. If it happens, it happens, but you have no say in that, so at the end of the day, that's just hockey gods I guess.
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