The journey through the “Best Teams Ever” on this NHL Saturday miniseries now skips past the Seattle Kraken—with just two seasons under its belt—to the St. Louis Blues, one of the expansion teams of 1967-1968. in 55 seasons overall, the Blues have been in the postseason 45 times! That’s impressive, even if the team only has one Stanley Cup title to its name (2019). And that team was a miracle winner, rating out very low sabermetrically. These teams below were much better!
Editorial Note: This is the first time in our Best Teams Ever series for the NHL where all five teams on this list are from different eras, without a single player being mentioned twice as a member of multiple teams!
No. 5: 2013-14 St. Louis Blues
A 52-23-7 record led to second place in the Central Division with 111 points. The No. 7 scoring offense and the No. 3 scoring defense added up to a No. 2 overall ranking in the SRS ratings. But these Blues had to face the defending Stanley Cup champions in the first round, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat St. Louis in a six-game series to end the season abruptly for the Blues. After winning the first two games in overtime, the home team lost four straight games quickly.
While 11 skaters posted at least 32 points for great depth, no one even came close to a point-a-game pace: center Alexander Steen (33G, 29A, 46 PIMs) and forward T.J. Oshie (21G, 39A, 42 PIMs) were the “top” options here for scoring. Three different goaltenders got at least 19 starts each: Jaroslav Halák (29-4-9, 4 SOs), Brian Elliott (18-6-2, 4 SOs), and Ryan Miller (10-8-1, 1 SO). But the Blackhawks outscored the Blues by a combined 14-6 margin in those four losses.
No. 4: 2021-22 St. Louis Blues
Third place in the Central Division came on the heels of 109 points, thanks to a 49-22-11 mark. This team was No. 5 in the SRS rankings, built on the No. 4 offense and the No. 11 defense. In the first round of the playoffs, St. Louis beat the Minnesota Wild in a six-game series. Then, the Blues had to face the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in the second round—and St. Louis lost in six games. Both the first and last games were decided by one goal each.
Four players topped a point-a-game levels: right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (34G, 48A), C Robert Thomas (20G, 57A), left wing Pavel Buchnevich (30G, 46A), and C Jordan Kyrou (27G, 48A). Gs Ville Husso (25-7-6, 2 SOs) and Jordan Binnington (18-14-4, 2 SOs) split the majority of time in net. The Avs outscored the Blues, 22-18, in the six-game playoff matchup, so it was a pretty close contest, overall, with St. Louis coming up short twice in the three one-goal games.
No. 3: 1994-95 St. Louis Blues
In a labor-shortened season, the Blues finished second in the Central Division with a 28-15-5 record for 61 points. St. Louis was No. 3 in the SRS rankings, thanks to the No. 4 offense and the No. 11 defense. However, the team lost in the first round of the postseason in a seven-game series against the Vancouver Canucks, the defending Western Conference champs at the time. The Blues lost three times on home ice, including a painful 5-3 loss in Game 7 that ended the season.
Some famous names were the top scorers on this roster: RW Brett Hull (29G, 21A) and LW Brendan Shanahan (20G, 21A, 136 PIMs). G Curtis Joseph (20-10-1, 1 SO) was the primary netminder for this team, but the postseason series was a rollercoaster ride. St. Louis won its three games by a combined 15-5 score, while the Canucks won their four games by a combined 22-12 margin. That’s 54 goals scored in the matchup overall, with each team netting the puck 27 times apiece.
No. 2: 1980-81 St. Louis Blues
The most distant team from the past on this list, this St. Louis squad took first place in the old Smythe Division with a 45-18-17 record for 107 points. Sabermetrically, this was the No. 4 team in the league based on the SRS ratings, putting the No. 2 offense and the No. 7 defense on the ice. In the short first round, the Blues beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, three games to two games; however, in the next round, the New York Rangers eliminated St. Louis in a six-game set.
The four top scorers were C Bernie Federko (31G, 73A, 47 PIMs), RW Wayne Babych (54G, 42A, 93 PIMs), C Blake Dunlop (20G, 67A 40 PIMs), and LW Jörgen Pettersson (37G, 36A). Meanwhile, Mike Luit (33-14-13) was the No. 1 goalie. The Blues won Game 5 against the Pens in double overtime, by the way, and then they fell behind the Rangers 3-1 after winning the series opener, probably on mere adrenaline. New York outscored St. Louis, 29-22, in the series.
No. 1: 1999-00 St. Louis Blues
With 114 points, this team still holds the franchise record for best finish in the standings (51-19-12). With first place in the Central Division, the Blues won the President’s Trophy—and then promptly lost in the first round of the playoffs to the San Jose Sharks. St. Louis was No. 1 in the SRS rankings, too, with the No. 3 offense and the No. 1 defense. But the Blues fell behind 3-1 in the series, and while they battled back to force Game 7 at home, San Jose prevailed in the end, sadly.
LW Pavol Demitra (28G, 47A) and C Pierre Turgeon (26G, 40A) were the top scorers, while defenseman Chris Pronger (14G, 48A, 92 PIMs) won the Norris Trophy, from both voters and us, by the way. G Roman Turek (42-15-9) was dominant in net, posting a 1.95 GAA with 7 SOs. The Blues outscored the Sharks, 22-20, in the series, but San Jose won the only two one-goal games of the matchup, and then the Sharks stole Game 7 on the road by a 3-1 score. That was super painful.