ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues hit the ice for their 2022-23 season opener on Saturday.

When the new season starts, the Blues will be the last NHL team to play their first game of the new season. Every other team plays at least one by Friday, and some will have played in up to three games.

It appears the Blues will have to make up some ground early on, but having made playoffs in nine of the last 10 seasons, they appear in a favorable position to overcome that.

JFresh Hockey, an NHL analytics-based website, predicts a fifth-place finish for the Blues in the Central Division, but a Western Conference Wild Card seed with 93 points. Other models tied to this research are projecting anywhere from 88 to 107 points for the Blues, some preedicting up to a second place finish in the Central Division, others doubting the Blues will make playoffs.

The cutoff for playoffs in the Western Conference last year was 97 points. The Blues have finished with at least that many points, or paced for more than that in an abbreviated campaign, in eight of their last ten campaigns. If the team can recapture form from recent history, it looks favorable they will beat out some early season projections and earn a playoff spot.

On an individual basis, Daily Faceoff projects the Blues will have several team leaders for individual stats in 2022-23.

  • Goals: Vladimir Tarasenko (30)
  • Assists: Robert Thomas (51)
  • Points: Vladimir Tarasenko (73)
  • Plus/minus: Justin Faulk (+19)
  • Shots on goal: Vladimir Tarasenko (236)
  • Hits: Justin Faulk (147)
  • Blocks: Colton Parayko (154)
  • Wins: Jordan Binnington (30)
  • Goals Against Average: Jordan Binnington (2.84)
  • Save Percentage: Jordan Binnington (.909)

Meanwhile, many oddsmakers gives Blues “middle of the pack” chances of winning a second Stanley Cup title this year.

The upcoming St. Louis Blues regular season runs nearly six months from Oct. 15, 2022 to April 13, 2023. It will be the first time in three years that the COVID-19 pandemic is not expected to impact schedules for the upcoming season.