Stepping Up Offensively
While most of the attention has been on the team’s lapses in January and the issues in net, a few skaters are enjoying some pretty nice hot streaks including Patrik Berglund, Brad Boyes and Alex Steen. The defense and goaltending needs to cut down on the number of goals being allowed, but at least some members of the offense are clicking.
No, he isn’t going to score 40 goals this season. Or 30 goals. In fact, it looks like he will struggle to even reach 20 tallies. However, Boyes is still making himself a relevant talking point of this offense after taking the entire month of December off.
For the year, Boyes has 11 goals and 22 assists for a total of 33 points. Nothing too impressive here, but when you look at his recent string of games there are plenty of positives.
Over the last 13 games, Boyes has just lit the lamp twice but has done a great job helping his teammates by chipping in 12 assists. That makes 14 points in his last 13 games, which includes two separate streaks of five games where Boyes contributed at least a point in each contest.
Some fans may be clamoring for his head as he continues to cement himself as more of a play-maker than a goal scorer, but I’ll take whatever Boyes can offer at this point. His passing has been sharp and he has been generating plenty of offensive opportunities either through his positioning or his skating.
Now if only he could bury a few more of the chances he is presented.
The big question still looms: Will Boyes be back next season? Obviously, the Blues as well as the rest of the league have learned that his scoring touch has all but gone dormant. His value has only dropped the last couple seasons.
He is due $4 million next season and that could be a big reason why he may remain in St. Louis in 2011-12 as other clubs aren’t willing to take on his salary.
Similar to Boyes, Berglund’s totals for the year aren’t impressive but his play of late has been. He has 12 goals and 19 assists for a total of 31 points in 2010-11.
Berglund’s solid stretch has hit nine games, with him scoring at least one point in eight of the team’s last nine contests. Four of his 12 total goals have been scored during this time.
With plenty of time left before the 2010-11 season is in the books, Berglund has a legitimate chance to match his career-high of 47 points he set in his rookie year back in 2008-09. He already bested last season’s dismal total and he finally appears to be finding the comfort zone we saw from the center when he first emerged on the scene.
It’s hard to believe that this very Alex Steen that leads the Blues in scoring is the same one that only scored six goals over the course of 61 games for the Blues in 2008-09.
With his two assists against the Lightning on Sunday, Steen surpassed David Backes as the new team leader in scoring with 40 total points.
Steen really has done a fantastic job this season, appearing in each of the team’s first 51 games this season. His legs appear tireless even in the late stages of a tough game and and he does a great job of clogging the neutral zone as the opponent tries to break out of their own end.
Steen was pretty quiet through the month of November, but has since strung together several point streaks throughout December and January. He had a five-game and a four-game steak in December before besting both totals with a seven-game streak last month.
Through two games in February, Steen already has four points. Knock on wood that he continues on this pace and continues being one of the hardest working skaters on the ice.