ST. LOUIS — A Stanley Cup championship in 2019 was a pretty awesome cherry on top for an overall solid decade of St. Louis Blues hockey.
In the nine full seasons that took place in the decade, the Blues made the playoffs in seven of them, and made it past the first round five times. They also won their division twice.
But if you had to break it down, what would a Blues 'All-Decade Team' look like?
Yes, it's tempting to nominate that entire 2019 Stanley Cup roster... but let's look a little closer.
Here's the criteria I'll try to stick to when determining who makes the cut.
1: Number of years played for the Blues in the decade
2: Relevant stats of player for the Blues in the decade
3: Is this player memorable/big moments in the decade
So essentially, longevity with the Blues matters, but I'm willing to look past that in certain cases if a player was compelling in a shorter amount of time.
Also, the lines and pairs aren't necessarily about who would play the best together on an actual team. They're built more along the lines of who deserves to be higher. I'm also going to try to slot guys into their respective wing and center positions, but might take a few liberties if called for.
Alright, let's get to it. Do you agree with my picks? Who would be on your Blues "All-Decade Team"?
(All stats on this list are current as of 12/26/2019. Also, since hockey seasons split the years, I'm starting with the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, and going through the end of 2019. Not perfect, but easier for me. So keep that in mind when I say "decade".)
First line: LW Alex Steen, C David Backes, RW Vladimir Tarasenko
Easy pickings here.
Alex Steen is the only forward to skate with the Blues for every season this decade. Steen has been a Blue since the 2008-2009 season, but had 158 goals and 255 assists for 413 points from the start of the 2010 season to the end of 2019. A decade of consistency deserves a spot on the top line.
David Backes was the Blues' captain for the majority of the decade. He was the stand-up teammate and professional, and the heart of the Blues. He was also no slouch on the ice, with 135 goals and 169 assists for 304 points with the Blues in the decade. Easy pick to lead the top line and captain this team.
Vladimir Tarasenko had the most anticipated debut of the decade for the Blues. The Russian phenom was one of the most hyped prospects St. Louis had ever seen, and he made good on the attention. In the decade, Tarasenko tallied 214 goals and amazingly 214 assists, and helped the Blue bring home their first Stanley Cup in 2019. His 214 goals are the most by any player with the franchise this decade.
RELATED: The Blues vs. Backes
Second line: LW David Perron, C Ryan O'Reilly RW T.J. Oshie
David Perron is a no-brainer here. He had Three, yes three, different stints with the Blues in the 2010s. Originally drafted by St. Louis in 2007, Perron debuted as a 19-year-old. In the 2010s he's scored 102 for the Blues, and been one of the biggest offensive threats for the team over the past two seasons.
Ryan O'Reilly has only been a Blue for about a season and a half, but he's already made his mark on the town. Acquired in the Berglund trade with Buffalo before the 2018 season, O'Reilly was an absolute force in his first year in St. Louis. He was an all-star, won the Selke Award, won a Stanley Cup and won the Conn Smythe Trophy. Not bad. It's also fitting he's on a line here with Perron, as the two have formed a pretty impressive chemistry over the past two seasons.
How much fun was T.J. Oshie? It seemed like on a nightly basis the guy would do something that made the entire building go, "Wow". He scored 78 goals and had 145 assists with the Blues in the decade and became one of the most popular players in the history of the franchise.Other than Vladimir Tarasenko we probably didn't see a more purely talented player debut for the Blues in the decade.
Third line: LW Jaden Schwartz, C Patrik Berglund, RW Chris Stewart
Jaden Schwartz nearly matched Alex Steen with a full decade of repping the Blue note in the 2010s. Breaking in as a 19-year-old in the 2011-2012 season, Schwartz was an exciting player from the beginning. He'd go on to become one of the team's top offensive threats in the decade. Schwartz scored 135 goals with 201 assists for 336 points in the decade. His postseason explosion in 2019 was one of the main reasons the Blues were even able to reach the Stanley Cup Final.
Listen. I know a lot of times Patrik Berglund was not very good. In fact, he was downright awful a lot of the time. But from a pure longevity standpoint, Berglund was a fixture of the 2010s for the Blues. He played in 547 games for the team this decade, tallying 134 goals and 115 assists for 249 points. The talent showed up every once in a while, but the 25th overall pick in the 2006 draft never actually lived up to his reputation. His departure however did help bring a huge part of that Stanley Cup winning team to town. His inclusion on this team is purely because he played more games than almost any other Blues forward in the decade.
I think everyone in St. Louis remembers the arrival of Chris Stewart. Picked up in the blockbuster Erik Johnson trade with Colorado, Stewart started his Blues career like nothing we had ever seen. He had 15 goals and 8 assists for the Blues after the 2011 trade. That was in just 23 games. The guy set the place on fire. Yeah, the fire fizzled for the most part afterwards (Stewart had 63 goals and 52 assists in four years in St. Louis), but he was always an exciting presence on the ice, and consistently one of the team's top players the years he was here.
Fourth line: LW Brayden Schenn, C Paul Stastny, RW Ryan Reaves
Brayden Schenn was already a fantastic hockey player when he arrived in St. Louis in 2017. But as a Blue, he's taken his game to the next level. Schenn has been one of the Blues' top offensive producers the past three seasons, and already has 17 goals in this current season. Schenn has 155 points in just 192 games as a Blue.
Local kid Paul Stastny came home ahead of the 2014-2015 season, and was a fixture in the Blues' lineup for the next few seasons. The third Stastny to play for the Blues, Paul had 56 goals and 119 assists in 267 games with St. Louis. The local ties also made him a fan favorite for most of his time here.
So obviously there were some better offensive options to fill the last slot on the "All-Decade Team" forwards, but come on. Ryan Reaves has to be on here. The main enforcer for the franchise in the decade, you always knew when Reaves was on the ice. He racked up 695 penalty minutes and probably just as many bruises and broken bones for the Blues in his parts of seven seasons in St. Louis.
Honorable mentions on offense: Vladimir Sobotka, Andy McDonald, Jori Lehtera, Robby Fabbri, Ivan Barbashev, Oskar Sundqvist, Pat Maroon, Robert Thomas
First defensive pair: Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk
Alex Pietrangelo is the only Blues defenseman to play for the franchise in every season this decade. Named captain in 2016, the former number four overall pick began to elevate his game to another level. In 709 games this decade, "Petro" has 101 goals, 322 assists and a plus/minus of +81. He's also a two-time all-star and the first Blues player to ever lift the Stanley Cup. Not a bad resume.
Kevin Shattenkirk was the other piece of that Erik Johnson trade that brought Chris Stewart to town in 2011. Shattenkirk developed into one of the most skilled offensive defensemen in hockey while with the Blues, notching 59 goals and 1999 assists in seven years in St. Louis.
Second defensive pair: Jay Bouwmeester and Colton Parayko
Jay Bouwmeester has received his share of grief from Blues fans over the years, but overall, the veteran has been pretty good in St. Louis. Bouwmeester came over from Calgary in the 2012-2013 season, and has been an iron man for the Blues. After 17 seasons as a pro, Bouwmeester finally got his elusive Stanley Cup in 2019.
Colton Parayko is one of the most talented Blues defensemen we've seen in a while. Debuting in 2015, Parayko has turned heads with his hard shot, and endeared himself to the fan base with his easygoing personality. Parayko has 31 goals and 113 assists with the Blues, and was a massive part of their Cup run in 2019.
Third defensive pair: Barret Jackman and Roman Polak
Barret Jackman might have been at the end of his playing days in the 2010s, but he was still a solid contributor with some big moments. Jackman had 68 points and was a +43 for the Blues in the decade and consistently one of the team's more popular players.
Roman Polak is probably one of the strongest men to ever play professional hockey. The guy is a tank, and you knew not to mess with him. Polak played a lot of his hockey in the decade away from St. Louis, but made his mark when he was here.
Honorable mentions on defense: Carlo Colaiacovo, Ian Cole, Carl Gunnarsson, Robert Bortuzzo, Joel Edmundson, Vince Dunn
Goalies: Brian Elliott and Jordan Binnington
This was tough, and I'm purposely not going to name a starter.
It's kind of forgotten just how good Brian Elliott was for the Blues in the decade. In five seasons, Elliott went 104-46-16 with the Blues, had a .925 save percentage and a 2.01 goals against average. He actually led the NHL in save percentage twice with the Blues. The man was spectacular in St. Louis. He and Jaroslav Halak even teamed up to win the Jennings Trophy in 2011-2012.
Jordan Binnington's 2019 is the stuff dreams are made of. From unknown to Stanley Cup champion in dominating fashion? The best. Without Binnington's arrival, the Blues don't make the playoffs, much less win the whole thing. His time spent with the team in the decade is admittedly short, but his impact is probably greater than any other singular player.
Honorable mentions: Jake Allen, Jaroslav Halak