The St. Louis Blues are a team that could use a boost in free agency this offseason. That said, they already have one player that could step up their game even more next season in David Backes. The team’s second-leading scorer during the regular season may need to become a player who focuses more on scoring than penalties.
Backes had 28 points, but also had 62 penalty minutes in 48 games. He was second on the team in time spent in the penalty box. I don’t believe that the team can afford to have many players who do that often. Backes averages nearly a minute a game in the box, and that can’t happen anymore. He must become a scorer who gets closer to 75-80 points a season while the penalty minutes hang around 40 or 50.
St. Louis will be looking very hard at some other forwards in free agency and that may take some pressure off of Backes, but if that doesn’t happen, he needs to step up. It won’t be easy obviously, but this team needs it to happen. The goalie situation will be a distraction as the 2013-14 season begins. There shouldn’t be any other weird things occurring as the team begins in a new division with the NHL realignment.
Backes shouldn’t have to be the team’s top center in the future, but it’s time to see some more out of the big guy. Next season could be a big make-or-break season for the Blues and their success will depend on Backes.