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Scouting The Enemy: St. Louis Blues

The Panthers have won seven times in 28 tries against St. Louis.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Panthers return home for a brief one-game homestand against the St. Louis Blues. This is the 29th time that Florida has played St. Louis. Their .321 points percentage ranks as their worst against any team. They’ve gone 7-17-1 with three ties in their history, and have lost the last five straight against them. In fact, last season, the Panthers failed to score on the Blues in two games, getting outscored by an aggregate 11-to-0 mark.

The last time Florida played the Blues was on December 8th in St. Louis. The Blues earned a 4-2 win despite goals by Nick Bjugstad (12) and Aaron Ekblad (5), and Martin Brodeur stopped 32 shots in his second win as a member of a team not named the New Jersey Devils. * Box Score

Florida hasn’t defeated St. Louis since Halloween, 2009, when Tomas Vokoun shut out the Blues in St. Louis on 34 shots in a 4-0 Panthers win. Dennis Seidenberg, Cory Stillman and Nathan Horton each had a goal and an assist, and Stephen Weiss also lit the lamp in the win. * Box Score

Ironically, the only Panther left over from that 2009 squad is Dmitry Kulikov, who is currently suspended indefinitely for his contact with Tyler Seguin on Friday night. For now, let's read up on these Blues.

Forward Corps

First Line

20 - Alex Steen

Steen is a 30-year-old, 5'11", 212 lb. natural center from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Now in his seventh season with the Blues, he played most of his first four NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs after getting drafted by them in the first round of the 2002 draft. He was third in the NHL last season with nine game winning goals.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

658

175

238

413

This Season

53

19

29

48

Last 10 played

10

4

6

10

vs. Florida

16

2

1

3

Assets: Excels in a defensive role and is underrated offensively. Much like his father Thomas, he owns excellent on-ice awareness and hockey sense. Possesses two-way ability and is very creative. A good skater, he has upped his intensity when fighting through opponents' physical play.
Flaws: Still lacks some game-to-game consistency in the offensive zone from time to time. Can go through big dry spells in the goal-scoring department. When shooting, he has to hit the net with more regularity in order to put more points on the board regularly.
Career Potential: Quality, skilled two-way forward.

42 - David Backes

Backes is a 6'3", 221 lb. center in his ninth NHL season, all with the Blues. He was selected in the second round of the 2003 draft by St. Louis out of Blaine, Minnesota. Now 30-years-old, he's sixth in the NHL with nine power play goals.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

622

178

219

397

This Season

54

19

21

40

Last 10 played

10

3

5

8

vs. Florida

9

5

3

8

Assets: Plays a great shutdown role and two-way game. Has size, hockey sense, a nose for the net and plenty of grit and determination. Is a tremendous body checker. Can play both center and wing.
Flaws: Sometimes, he is too aggressive and gets caught out of position or takes bad penalties. His scoring lacks consistency, though he's improving in all areas of the game.
Career Potential: Excellent shutdown and two-way center with versatility.

74 - TJ Oshie

Oshie is a 5'11", 189 lb. 28-year-old from Mt. Vernon, Washington, and like his two mates on the first line, he's a natural center. A first round selection by the Blues back in the 2005 draft, he's playing in his seventh season with St. Louis. He was the NHL's First Star for the week of January 5th this season.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

418

106

186

292

This Season

47

15

22

37

Last 10 played

10

3

7

10

vs. Florida

7

0

1

1

Assets: Plays much bigger than his 5-11 frame would indicate and with an 'in-your-face' swagger. Has two-way savvy, scoring prowess and the versatility to center if need be. Is adept at the open-ice hit.
Flaws: Needs to gain a little more consistency in his game in order to maximize his National Hockey League potential. His lack of ideal size clashes with his energetic style of play, so injuries are always a concern.
Career Potential: Quality, aggressive scoring forward.


Second Line

17 - Jaden Schwartz

Schwartz is a 5'10", 190 lb. natural center from Melfort, Saskatchewan. The 22-year-old pivot was picked 14th overall in the 2010 draft by the Blues, and is already in his fourth season with the parent club. Last season, he ranked fifth in the NHL with three short-handed goals, a recurrent point of contention for the Panthers.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

180

53

62

115

This Season

48

19

24

43

Last 10 played

10

4

4

8

vs. Florida

3

1

2

3

Assets: Is incredibly quick and can make highly skilled plays in constant motion. Can play the center position, but is best suited to flying up and down the wing. Is quite aggressive for his size. Does a lot of little things well.
Flaws: Needs to get bigger and stronger in order to win more battles against bigger, stronger opponents at the highest level, especially from the wing position. Must also continue to improve his defensive-zone coverage.
Career Potential: Speedy, talented scoring winger with upside.

12 - Jori Lehtera

Lehtera is a 27-year-old, 6'2", 191 lb. center from Helsinki, Finland. The Blues chose him in the third round of the 2008 draft. He made his NHL debut earlier this season, and didn't take long to make a mark, earning the NHL's First Star for the week of November 17th.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

48

9

21

30

This Season

48

9

21

30

Last 10 played

10

1

3

4

vs. Florida

1

0

1

1

Assets: Is an excellent playmaker with good vision and enough size and reach to perform at the National Hockey League. Also holds his own defensively.
Flaws: Could stand to add a little more bulk to his 6-2 frame in order to thrive at the highest level. Also, he needs to learn the nuances of the NHL game.
Career Potential: Skilled playmaker with some upside.

91 - Vladimir Tarasenko

Tarasenko is a 6', 219 lb. right winger from Yaroslavl, USSR. He's a 23-year-old three-year veteran, the Blues first round pick in 2010, and for the first time (this season) an all-star. He currently ranks fourth in the league with 29 goals scored, and second with a plus-26 rating.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

157

58

58

116

This Season

55

29

25

54

Last 10 played

10

5

2

7

vs. Florida

3

1

2

3

Assets: Has tremendous puck-handling and one-on-one skills. Is strong on his skates, so he is good at puck protection and also battling along the boards. Oozes scoring upside.
Flaws: Still needs to hone his two-way game and add even more muscle to excel for a long stretch in the NHL. Must also become more committed to the North American game.
Career Potential: Talented scoring winger with big upside.


Third Line

23 - Dmitrij Jaskin

Jaskin is a 21-year-old, three year veteran from Omsk, Russia. The 6'2", 196 lb. winger was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft by St. Louis.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

48

9

5

14

This Season

28

8

4

12

Last 10 played

10

4

1

5

vs. Florida

0

0

0

0

Assets: Uber-skilled, he has great hands and goal-scoring instincts. Can also pass the puck with aplomb, making him a constant double-threat in the offensive zone. Also has good size for the NHL.
Flaws: Needs to continue to improve his defensive-zone coverage in order to stay on the ice with the game on the line at the highest level. Also needs to fill out his 6-2 frame to withstand the rigors of the pro game.
Career Potential: Talented scoring winger with good upside.

26 - Paul Stastny

Stastny is a 6', 208 lb. center from Quebec City, PQ. The 29-year-old is in his ninth NHL season after getting drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round in 2005. He made the all-star team in 2011, and is in his first season not on the Avalanche.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

585

171

319

490

This Season

47

11

21

32

Last 10 played

10

2

6

8

vs. Florida

10

7

7

14

Assets: Like his father, Peter, he owns tremendous playmaking acumen and two-way skills. An excellent passer with good vision, he's especially good in traffic. Solidly built, he usually plays bigger than his 6-0 frame and displays a mature attitude.
Flaws: Has the burden of constant comparisons with his father, which can be difficult to deal with. Needs to stay focused and gritty on a consistent basis to be at his best. Must become a more reliable producer and better game in, game out.
Career Potential: Excellent playmaking center.

21 - Patrik Berglund

Berglund is a 6'3", 217 lb. natural center from Vasteras, Sweden, and St. Louis' first round selection in 2005. The 26-year-old is in his seventh NHL season. He led the league with a 23.0 shooting percentage in 2012-13.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

487

112

125

237

This Season

51

6

11

17

Last 10 played

10

0

2

2

vs. Florida

8

1

1

2

Assets: Has a huge frame, outstanding offensive instincts and game-changing ability. Is a wizard with the puck. His wrister is top-notch. Also owns plenty of two-way upside.
Flaws: Doesn't use his big frame enough to win puck battles or finish checks consistently. Could stand to shoot the puck a little more. Needs to be better from game to game.
Career Potential: Slick, talented center with upside.


Fourth Line

9 - Steve Ott

Ott, a 6', 190 lb. natural center, was the first round pick of the Dallas Stars in the 2000 draft. Now 32-years-old, the 12-year NHL veteran from Summerside, PEI is with his third NHL team. He has ranked in the NHL's top 10 in penalty minutes on four occasions, and is fourth in the league amongst active players with 1,410 spent in the box.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

750

105

171

276

This Season

54

2

7

9

Last 10 played

10

1

1

2

vs. Florida

12

3

7

10

Assets: Gets by on hard work and dogged determination. Excels at throwing opponents off their game with shift-disturbing precision. Can kill penalties, take face-offs, play a scoring role and line up at all three forward positions.
Flaws: Can go overboard with his antics and questionable hits, which leads to bad penalties from time to time. Doesn't have great size, so he wears down physically over the long haul because of his kamikaze style of play.
Career Potential: Elite, versatile agitating forward.

57 - Marcel Goc

Goc is a 6'1, 197 lb. center from Calw, Germany. A first round pick of the San Jose Sharks in 2001, the 31-year-old, the 10-year NHL veteran is now with his fifth NHL team, including the Panthers. He spent parts of three seasons with Florida, scoring 31 goals with 38 assists in 161 contests.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

614

74

112

186

This Season

52

2

5

7

Last 10 played

10

0

2

2

vs. Florida

9

0

3

3

Assets: Has good speed and two-way instincts. Is a capable player in all game situations and displays plenty of versatility. Is also a good face-off man.
Flaws: Lacks the confidence and consistency to play an effective offensive role at the National Hockey League level. Can run into injury trouble.
Career Potential: Versatile but fragile center.

75 - Ryan Reaves

Reaves, a 6'1", 224 lb. winger from Winnipeg, was the Blues' fifth round pick in 2005. The 28-year-old five-year veteran has never totaled more than eight points in a season.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

248

16

14

30

This Season

54

5

3

8

Last 10 played

10

2

0

2

vs. Florida

4

1

1

2

Assets: Is a good athlete who likes to play a physical game (he hits with authority). Is also willing to drop the gloves and be an enforcer. Does good work in the corners.
Flaws: Is lacking in hockey sense and still somewhat raw as a player. Doesn't own a lot of scoring ability for the NHL. At times, he can take bad penalties.
Career Potential: Tough, bruising depth winger.


Defensive Corps

First Pairing

25 - Chris Butler

Butler is a 6'1", 196 lb. defender from St. Louis, MO. The 28-year-old was chosen in the fourth round of the draft in 2005 by the Buffalo Sabres, and is now in his seventh season with his third NHL team.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

375

12

69

81

This Season

26

2

4

6

Last 10 played

10

0

2

2

vs. Florida

13

0

1

1

Assets: Owns good wheels and moves the puck well. Has good size and is usually positionally sound in the defensive zone. He's a heady player. Can log big minutes along the blueline.
Flaws: Doesn't play a physical style for a blueliner. Despite some good tools, he doesn't seem to possess the acumen for producing quality offensive numbers. That limits his overall impact.
Career Potential: Solid, mobile rearguard.

27 - Alex Pietrangelo

Pietrangelo, a 25-year-old from King City, Ontario, is a 6'3", 201 lb. defender in his seventh NHL season. He's been with the Blues since 2008, when the team spent the fourth overall pick in the draft on him. He's already played on two all-star teams.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

360

41

161

202

This Season

55

4

26

30

Last 10 played

10

0

3

3

vs. Florida

6

1

2

3

Assets: Has excellent size, two-way ability and loads of offensive acumen. Is aggressive in nature and never afraid to lay on the body. Plays with poise and excels with the man advantage; he has a quality point shot. An excellent skater for such a big man, he's also a good playmaker.
Flaws: Needs a little more work in terms of his defensive-zone coverage, as well as learn how to make a few safer plays when in danger in his own end of the ice. Injuries are also a bit of a concern, mostly because his playing style can leave him vulnerable at times.
Career Potential: Excellent all-round defenseman with big upside.


Second Pairing

19 - Jay Bouwmeester

Bouwmeester, a 31-year-old blueliner from Edmonton, was chosen by Florida with the third overall pick in 2002. A 12-year-veteran with his third NHL team, he once played 737 consecutive games, the fifth longest streak in league history. He has also appeared twice on the all-star team.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

893

78

274

352

This Season

47

2

6

8

Last 10 played

10

0

1

1

vs. Florida

5

0

2

2

Assets: Has incredible skating ability, a keen sense of when to join the rush, size and hockey smarts. A capable shutdown defender, he can log huge minutes. He's also a durable player.
Flaws: Doesn't play enough of a physical game to dominate in that department, but that's never been his style of play. Lacks a big shot, but should do more offensively with his skill level.
Career Potential: Mobile big-minute defenseman with stellar defensive ability.

4 - Carl Gunnarsson

Gunnarsson is a 6'2", 196 lb. defenseman from Orebro, Sweden. The 28-year-old was picked in the seventh round in 2007, by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and now playing in his sixth NHL season. This is the first year he has played for a team not named the Maple Leafs.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

342

17

79

96

This Season

38

2

8

10

Last 10 played

10

1

3

4

vs. Florida

17

0

3

3

Assets: Has an excellent frame and a long reach. Moves the puck quickly and efficiently out of danger. Can play a shutdown role if required. Can also play on the power play if needed.
Flaws: Must continue to get stronger in order to maximize his big-league potential. Doesn't play a physical game. Also doesn't produce great point totals at the highest level.
Career Potential: Stabilizing big-minute defenseman.


Third Pairing

5 - Barret Jackman

Jackman, a 6', 203 lb. defender from Trail, BC, was a first round pick of the Blues in 1999. Now in his 13th NHL season, the 2003 Calder Memorial Trophy winner is seeing his minutes dip for the seventh year in a row.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

778

27

151

178

This Season

55

1

11

12

Last 10 played

10

0

0

0

vs. Florida

11

0

4

4

Assets: Plays a sound defensive game and usually games his game very simple. Owns plenty of leadership qualities. Can also play a physical shutdown role when need be. He's a meat-and-potatoes defender.
Flaws: Doesn't have a lot of offensive acumen, which hurts his overall value. Can get overly-aggressive at times, but isn't consistent in that aspect of the game. Has a history of shoulder problems.
Career Potential: Solid defensive defenseman.

28 - Ian Cole

Cole was St. Louis' first round pick in 2007. A 6'1", 219 lb. defenseman from Ann Arbour, MI, the 25-year-old is playing in his fifth NHL season.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

160

8

20

28

This Season

47

3

3

6

Last 10 played

10

0

1

1

vs. Florida

2

1

0

1

Assets: Can play a quality shutdown role. Has good size and strength, the ability to play a physical brand of hockey from the back end and some puck-moving skills.
Flaws: Doesn't have the high-end ability to be much of a factor on power plays. Needs to become more consistent in order to maximize his overall potential.
Career Potential: Talented shutdown defenseman with upside.


Goaltenders

Probable Starter

1 - Brian Elliott

Elliott is a 6'2", 209 lb. backstop from Newmarket, ON. The Ottawa Senators spent a ninth round selection on him in 2003, and he's entering his eighth NHL season with his third career team. Now 29-years-old, he led the NHL in 2011-12 with a 1.56 GAA and a .940 save percentage.

Games

W

L

OTL

SV%

GAA

SO

Career

263

133

84

25

0.912

2.45

28

This Season

28

17

7

2

0.922

2.15

3

Last 10 played

10

6

2

1

0.901

2.82

1

vs. Florida

6

4

2

0

0.908

2.61

1

Assets: A long-limbed butterfly goalie who covers a lot of area, he is quick on his skates and takes good angles. He's calm, efficient and mature in the crease. Can go on prolonged hot streaks.
Flaws: Lacks consistency and tends to run cold at critical times. Not very pro-active with his stick, he also isn't very proficient at puck-handling. Doesn't challenge shooters enough.
Career Potential: Talented, if a little inconsistent goaltender.

Probable Backup

34 - Jake Allen

Allen is a 24-year-old from Fredericton, New Brunswick. The Blues made him a second round pick in 2008, and he is now in his second NHL season. The 6'2", 195 lb. netminder made the all-rookie team in 2013.

Games

W

L

OTL

SV%

GAA

SO

Career

40

25

9

2

0.906

2.49

4

This Season

25

16

5

2

0.906

2.50

3

Last 10 played

10

6

2

1

0.904

2.50

1

vs. Florida

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Assets: Has an excellent frame, so he has the ability to cover a lot of net. He's 'quiet' in terms of his movement and technically sound.
Flaws: Needs to improve his glove hand and become a better pressure goalkeeper in order to maximize his starting goaltender potential.
Career Potential: Talented goaltender with upside.

Tonight's game starts at 5PM.