For the 2019-20 St. Louis Blues it wasn't so much that they had a Stanley Cup hangover after taking home the chalice the season prior, they still looked like one of the top contenders when the bubble-encased 2020 NHL postseason began. But then, the wheels started to fall off.
The offseason was tumultuous. The team signed top free agent defenseman Torey Krug, but as a result, they didn't keep captain Alex Pietrangelo (who signed with their new division rivals, the Vegas Golden Knights). What should fans expect out of the Blues this season? Here's everything you need to know for 2020-21:
Big question: What does Torey Krug offer, and what did Alex Pietrangelo take with him?
The massive change for the Blues this offseason was the departure of Pietrangelo to the Golden Knights -- the Blues refused to give him a no-movement clause in a new deal, among other factors -- and the arrival of his replacement Torey Krug from the Boston Bruins, as the latter signed a seven-year, $45 million free-agent deal.
Pietrangelo had his most productive offensive season in 2019-20 (0.74 points per game), while remaining a solid defender in all situations. Krug is a better offensive player, and an elite power-play quarterback, who isn't a defensive liability but also isn't Pietrangelo's equal on that end of the ice. They also lost a team captain in Pietrangelo, but found an exceptional replacement in Ryan O'Reilly.