After associate coach Brad Shaw and assistant coach Kirk Muller decided to leave for other opportunities in late May 2016, Mike Yeo was announced on June 13, 2016, to replace coach Ken Hitchcock after his last year starting in the 2017–18 season. Yeo joined the Blues as associate coach, while Rick Wilson joined the staff as an assistant coach. Ray Bennett (assistant coach), Jim Corsi (goaltender coach) and Sean Ferrell (video coach) also returned. Yeo spent the majority of the last five seasons as the head coach of the Minnesota Wild, leading the club to a 173–132–44 record, including a 46–28–8 mark in 2014–15, which was the second-best record in Wild history. Yeo also guided the Wild to three postseason appearances, including back-to-back trips to the second round in 2014 and 2015.
On January 20, two days after his 25th birthday, the Blues recalled goalie Pheonix Copley from their minor league affiliate Chicago Wolves. He made his debut (in relief) with the Blues on February 27, 2016. He will make the first start in his career in the next game (January 21) against the Winnipeg Jets. He was 11–4–2 with the Chicago Wolves this season, and ranks ninth in the AHL in goals-against average (2.32) and save-percentage (.920). In the January 21 game, Copley, playing almost 59 minutes, gave up five goals on 29 shots, with the Blues losing 5–3.Jake Allen did not travel with the team to Winnipeg for the game, staying home to be with his newborn daughter. He will rejoin the team on Monday, January 23, for the remaining two games of the road trip. He was pulled for the fourth time in six starts after his poor showing on January 19, allowing four goals on only 10 shots against the league-leading Washington Capitals (30–9–6, 66 pts.). He presently has a 2.85 GAA with a .897 Save percentage. In the 2015–16 season, he had a 2.35 GAA with a .920 save percentage.
After his one start on January 21, Copley was assigned to the Chicago Wolves on January 25.
Ken Hitchcock was relieved of his duties as head coach by GM Doug Armstrong on February 1. Mike Yeo was promoted from associate coach. He was scheduled to be head coach next season. Hitchcock served as the head coach of the Blues since November 8, 2011. Over six seasons, he led the Blues to a 248–124–41 regular season record and ranks second on the Blues' all-time regular season wins list and fourth in NHL history overall with 781 career regular season wins. Hitchcock, 65, is 781–473–111 with 88 ties in 20 seasons with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Blues. He's fourth all-time in the NHL in coaching victories, behind Scotty Bowman (1,244), Joel Quenneville (831) and Al Arbour (782). His 1,453 games coached are fifth. He won the Stanley Cup as coach of the Stars in 1999 and made the Cup Final in 2000, losing to the New Jersey Devils in six games. His teams made the playoffs 13 times in 14 full seasons. Goalie coach Jim Corsi has also been relieved of his duties. Martin Brodeur and Ty Conklin will share Goalie Coach Jim Corsi's previous duties for the rest of the year.
Hitchcock is one of the best coaches in NHL history, and the Blues have been one of the best teams in the NHL under him.
Since the start of the 2011–12 season, when Armstrong hired Hitchcock after 13 games, the Blues have had a .644 point percentage. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins (.656) and Chicago Blackhawks (.648) have been better.
The Blues went to the Western Conference Final last season and came within two wins of their first Stanley Cup Final since 1970. But the Blues still never have won the Cup, and they have gone 9–14–1 since a 15–7–4 start. Since December 8, their point percentage is .395; only the Colorado Avalanche (.196) and Arizona Coyotes (.375) have been worse. They are clinging to the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, in danger of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2010–11.
The Blues retired Bob Plager's No. 5 uniform in a ceremony on February 2, alongside his brother Barclay's No. 8, Al MacInnis' No. 2, Brett Hull's No. 16, Bernie Federko's No. 24, Bob Gassoff's No. 3, and Brian Sutter's No. 11. His No. 5 is the seventh jersey to be retired by the Blues and the 123rd among the NHL's 30 teams. Bob and Barclay Plager join only one other pair of brothers to have their jerseys retired by the same team: Maurice "The Rocket" and Henri Richard of the Montreal Canadiens. He joined the club as a 21-year-old in an expansion draft trade with the New York Rangers in 1967 and became an instant fan-favorite thanks to his tenacious style of defense and his famous hip checks. He played 10 seasons in St. Louis, racking up 615 regular season games, 141 points and 762 penalty minutes.
He retired from the league after the 1977–78 season, and has since held many positions with the organization, including head coach, vice president, director of professional scouting and director of player development. Today, he works in the Blues' Community Relations department, serving as an ambassador in the community not just for the Blues, but for St. Louis, the NHL and the game of hockey in general.
Mike Yeo began his tenure as the 25th head coach in franchise history on February 2. Yeo spent ten seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and captured the 2009 Stanley Cup as an assistant. He then moved on to Minnesota, where he spent five seasons as head coach and led the Minnesota Wild to three postseason berths, including consecutive trips to the second round in 2014 and 2015.
Robby Fabbri (C) was injured midway through the first period in a February 4 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, suffering a torn ACL on his left knee. He is lost for the remainder of the regular season (30 games) and possible playoffs. He will not be able to play on the ice again until training camp for the 2017–18 season starting in September. He scored 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points in 51 games played. The Blues recalled forwards Kenny Agostino (LW) and Magnus Paajarvi (LW) from the Chicago Wolves.
Patrik Berglund (C) scored the first "hat trick" of his career in a 4-2 win (February 11) over the Montreal Canadiens for their fourth consecutive win for the Blues in a tough five-game road trip, pushing them into the top three in the Central Division's guarantee of a playoff spot with 63 points, three points ahead of the next two teams. David Perron (LW) scored the other goal, and had an assist. Jake Allen made 28 saves on 30 shots. Coach Mike Yeo is 5-1-0 since replacing Ken Hitchcock on February 1.
Jake Allen (G) was named Second Star of the Week on February 13, for the week of February 6-12. Allen, went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average, a .967 save percentage and his 13th career shutout against the Ottawa Senators (February 7). His two other wins were against the Toronto Maple Leafs (2-1 OT, 31 saves, February 9), and Montreal Canadiens (February 11).
On February 17, the Blues activated Kyle Brodziak (C) two weeks ahead of schedule. He suffered a right foot injury on January 24, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and was placed on injured reserve two days later. He was expected to miss five weeks, but missed three weeks and 10 games. Wade Megan (C) was reassigned to the Chicago Wolves.
Paul Stastny (C) returned to the lineup on February 20, after missing four games with a lower-body injury against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 9.
The Blues clinched a playoff spot on March 31, in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The Blues (42-28-7) needed one point to qualify for their sixth consecutive trip to the postseason and 41st in their 50-year history. They had a 6-0-2 record in their past eight games to clinch the playoffs. They have a two-point lead over the Nashville Predators for third place in the Central Division. Each has five games remaining. This will mark the Blues' seventh playoff appearance in the last 12 seasons. The club previously reached the playoffs in 25 consecutive years between 1979 and 2004. They joined the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers as the only teams to have reached the playoffs in each of the last six seasons.
On April 8, the Blues clinched third place in the Central Division with a 5-4 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. The Blues (46-29-7; 99 pts., 235-218 GF-GA) will play the second-place Minnesota Wild (49-25-8; 106 pts., 266-208 GF-GA) in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The playoffs begin on Wednesday, April 12 with the first two games in St. Paul.
Game 1 (Apr. 12) went to the Blues in a remarkable 51-save effort by goalie Jake Allen. The 51-saves were the fourth-most ever by a Blues goaltender in a playoff game, helping the Blues to a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory against Minnesota. Only Curtis Joseph (61 saves and 57 saves), and Ed Staniowski (54 saves) have posted more. Defenseman Joel Edmundson scored the winner in overtime. Recently acquired (C) Vladimir Sobotka gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 6:21 of the second period. Sobotka played in his first playoff game with the Blues since 2014, after spending the three seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. Zach Parise of the Wild ended Allen's 1-0 shutout bid when he scored with 22 seconds remaining in the third period, forcing the overtime frame. Edmundson scored the winner at 17:48 of the overtime.
Paul Stastny (C) was activated before the fifth game on April 22, after missing 14 games; 10 in the regular season and the first 4 in the playoffs against the Wild. He scored the Blues' third goal in the third period, giving the team a 3-1 lead. Magnus Paajarvi (LW) wins the series with an overtime goal at 9:42. Jake Allen saves 34 of 37 shots in the 4-3 win. The Blues now play the Nashville Predators (41-29-12; 94 pts., 240-224 GF-GA), who swept the Chicago Blackhawks.
"NHL Draft Picks Tracker: First-round analysis from First Niagara Center in Buffalo"
26. St. Louis Blues (from Washington Capitals) - Tage Thompson, C, Connecticut (H-EAST)
NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 20
2015-16: 36 games, 14-18-32
"A right-handed power forward, Thompson began the season on the fourth line but soon was playing top line minutes. He has a great shot and led the NCAA with 13 power-play goals. Thompson (6-5, 195) is tough to knock off the puck, and good at protecting it and taking it to the net.
NHL.com quick hit: The Blues needed a big, strong center and Thompson, at 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds, has a giant frame that can get even bigger. With David Backes' future in St. Louis uncertain and Paul Stastny turning 31 next season, the time was right for the Blues to start to search for a future No. 1 center."
The Washington Capitals' first-round pick went to the St. Louis Blues as the result of a trade on June 24, 2016 that sent a first-round pick and Washington's third-round pick both in 2016 (28th and 87th overall) to Washington, in exchange for this pick.
The St. Louis Blues' first-round pick went to the Washington Capitals as the result of a trade on June 24, 2016 that sent a first-round pick in 2016 (26th overall) to St. Louis, in exchange for Washington's third-round pick in 2016 (87th overall), and this pick.
The Washington Capitals' third-round pick was re-acquired as the result of a trade on June 24, 2016 that sent a first-round pick in 2016 (26th overall) to St. Louis, in exchange for a first-round pick in 2016 (28th overall), and this pick.