Calder Chase and Manny Legace
[FONT="Verdana"][SIZE="2"][COLOR="Blue"]Less than a week after St. Louis was named Hockey Future’s number one city for prospects, rookies Erik Johnson and David Perron have been mentioned in the same sentence as the Calder Chase. Both are shoe-ins for a nomination considering their impressive stats. At 6’4”, Johnson is a force to be reckoned with as a first round choice defenseman. In 27 of the games he has played, he has acquired 13 points – pretty impressive for his first season in the NHL. Johnson has a slapshot that, with a few more years of training, could possibly rival that of Al MacInnis. (Yes, I did just say that.) Perron has also played in 27 games and has 15 points to his name, 8 of which are goals and 7 of which are assists. Perron led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 39 goals and a plus-minus of 37 in the 2006-2007 season. He is very quick and very smart defensively.
Both of these guys have amazing potential and I give huge props to the St. Louis Blues organization for choosing to keep them in the line-up. The rookies have been the leading force of the team this season, despite the veterans we have. Paul Kariya has been in a scoring drought since the December 29 game in Dallas when he earned his tenth career hat-trick. Andy McDonald earned 5 points for the first game he played as a Blue, but has been out since then. (He did return for last Saturday’s game against Carolina.) Brad Boyes was super hot for a long time, but even he is in a drought now. Johnson and Perron bring a younger, faster energy to the ice – something the Blues desperately need.
The rookies are not the only ones who are smokin’. Blues goaltender Manny Legace has been insanely outstanding this entire season. Sure, he has had his few bad nights, but he always makes up for it in the following game. He earned the recognition he so greatly deserves when he was named NHL’s Player of the Week. Legace recorded two shutouts in three games – one against Detroit, with 31 sweet saves, and one against Carolina, with 27 saves. He currently has a 15-10-2 record, 2.09 goals-against average, .921 save percentage, and 3 shutouts in 29 games. I cannot remember a time when St. Louis had a goaltender as badass as Legace. Even his name is cool.
Dare I say it, I believe the Blues are making themselves a sure thing for the playoffs this year. We missed it by a hair last season and I think we will make up for it in 2008. Here’s to you, St. Louis, for recognizing the potential of our rookies and for honoring Manny Legace in what has surely been his best season ever.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]