NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the St. Louis Blues.
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1. Power-play boost
The St. Louis Blues ranked 30th in the NHL with a power-play percentage of 15.4 percent last season, down from 21.3 in 2016-17 (eighth).
The situation may be reversed this season with the additions of forwards Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Tyler Bozak and Patrick Maroon, and the return of forward Robby Fabbri, who missed last season recovering from ACL surgery.
The four newly acquired forwards each averaged more than 2:00 of ice time per game on the power play (O’Reilly, 3:36; Perron, 2:32; Bozak, 2:11; Maroon, 2:01) and combined for 61 power-play points (20 goals, 41 assists) last season. Fabbri averaged 2:16 per game on the power play in 2016-17 and had nine power-play points (four goals, five assists) in 51 games.
Video: 31 in 31: St. Louis Blues 2018-19 season preview
2. O’Reilly’s two-way play
O’Reilly, acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in a trade July 1, is a strong two-way player who has scored at least 55 points in six of the past seven seasons. For the past eight seasons, he has received votes for Selke Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s best defensive forward.
Over his three seasons with the Sabres, O’Reilly averaged 21:19 of ice time per game, the most among NHL forwards. That led to an NHL-high 255 goals against while he was on the ice. He won 58.3 percent of his face-offs, ranking second to Anaheim Ducks center Antoine Vermette (59.2 percent).
3. Assisting Tarasenko
Adding the versatile O’Reilly will allow forward Vladimir Tarasenko to remain focused on scoring.
Over the past four seasons, Tarasenko ranked first among forwards with 1,947 shifts started in the offensive zone at 5-on-5. He started 1,035 in the defensive zone for a zone start percentage of 65.29 percent, which ranked eighth among the 685 forwards to play at least 20 games in that time.
The extra offensive-zone opportunities helped Tarasenko rank third among forwards with 1,148 shots over the past four seasons, and his 149 goals in 319 games during that span ranked second to Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, who scored 185 goals in 324 games.
Video: Vladimir Tarasenko comes in at No. 11 on the list