Here is my 20 in 20 segment where I will review 20 players in 20 days for the St. Louis Blues. Today will highlight Patrik Berglund and Chris Stewart.
Patrik Berglund – Here is a player who has continued to have a strong work ethic and has proven to be an important piece to the depth of the Blues. Patrik Berglund has established himself as the teams #2 center and has done a great job in doing so. At only 24, he does everything the Blues want him to do. He plays strong even strength, can step into a power play, or work on a penalty kill. At 6’4 he makes a big body to move in front of the net and he can protect the puck well. He was drafted 25th overall by the Blues back in 2006, and had a strong rookie campaign in 08-09 where he had 21 goals and 47 points in 76 games. From then on he hasn’t been the most consistent. In 09-10 he was only to grab 26 points in 71 games. In 10-11 he had his best season where he collected 22 goals and 52 points in 81 games, but in 11-12 his numbers decreased again where he only hit 38 points. While his role on the team isn’t to just score points, he has proven that he can post 40-50 points per season. Berglund has become a reliable offenseman the Blues trust in every situation, which makes him very valuable to the team.
Chris Stewart – Chris Stewart came over to the Blues in the 2010-2011 season in that big trade that sent Erik Johnson to the Colorado Avalanche. While being picked 18th overall in the 2006 draft by the Avalanche, Stewart burst onto the scene as a strong power forward. In his first full season with the Avs, Stewart showed great skill and hit 28 goals and 64 points in 77 games. The next year he was able to hit 28 goals once again when he split time between the Avalanche and Blues. However in 2011-2012, Stewart took a step back and couldn’t perform to what the Blues expected of him. Stewart was only able to hit 15 goals and 30 points in 79 games which was the worst of his full 3 seasons. The Blues demoted him to the 3rd and 4th line later in the regular season, but decided to give him another shot in the upcoming season as they resigned him to a 1-year $3 million contract. Not only did his last season put his job in jeopardy, but he will now have to fight for a top 6 spot against others like Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Matt D’Agostini, and others. Stewart has already proved to be a 25+ goal scorer so there is no reason why he can’t do it again. However, with a logjam at the forward position, does Stewart become a possible trade asset? Teams know he has the ability to hit 50 points per season and his value may be high right now, but if he has another poor season his value may go way down. If Stewart can kick his game back up he will be the difference maker the Blues need. Stewart’s play can be the difference between the Blues making a quick playoff exit or reaching the Stanley Cup finals.