Blues could lean on Acciari, young forwards to fill offensive roles

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2022-23 regular season, which starts Oct. 7. Today, the St. Louis Blues:

2021-22 season: 49-22-11, 3rd in Central Division; lost in second round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrivals

Noel AcciariF: The 30-year-old signed a one-year contract July 13 to help bolster the bottom-six forward group. He had eight points (three goals, five assists) in 20 regular-season games last season, and no points in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Florida Panthers. … Thomas GreissG: The 36-year-old signed a one-year contract July 13. He was 10-15-1 with a 3.66 goals-against average and .891 save percentage for the Detroit Red Wings last season. … Craig MacTavish, assistant coach: The 63-year-old was hired July 1 to replace Jim Montgomery, who was named coach of the Boston Bruins after spending the past two seasons as an assistant in St. Louis. Louis. MacTavish is 301-252-56 with 47 ties as coach of the Edmonton Oilers from 2000-2009 and led them to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

Key departures

David PerronF: Perron signed a two-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings July 13. He had 57 points (27 goals, 30 assists) in 67 regular-season games last season, and 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in 12 playoff games. … Ville HussoG: He was traded to the Red Wings for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and signed a three-year contract July 8. Hussi was 25-7-6 with a 2.56 GAA, .919 save percentage and two shutouts in 40 regular -season games (38 starts) and 2-5 with a 3.67 GAA, .890 save percentage and one shutout in seven playoff games (six starts). … Tyler Bozak, F: An unrestricted free agent, he had 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 50 regular-season games last season and two goals in 12 playoff games. …. Dakota JoshuaF: Agreed to a two-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks July 13. He had eight points (three goals, five assists) in 30 regular-season games last season. … Jim Montgomery, assistant coach: Named the Boston Bruins coach July 1, he was with the Blues for the past two seasons. He was coach of the Dallas Stars from 2018-2020 and was 61-43-10.

On the cusp

Scott PerunovichD: The 23-year-old signed a one-year contract July 14. Limited by a shoulder injury, he had six assists in 19 regular-season games and four assists in seven playoff games after making his NHL debut on Nov. 16, 2021. … Jake Neighbors, F: Selected in the first round (No. 26) of the 2020 NHL Draft, the 20-year-old had two points (one goal, one assist) in nine regular-season games last season before being assigned to the Edmonton of the Western Hockey League. … Zachary Bolduc, F: The 19-year-old was selected in the first round (No. 17) of the 2021 NHL Draft and had one assisted in one preseason game last season. He scored 99 points (55 goals, 44 assists) in 65 regular-season games and 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in 12 playoff games for Quebec of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2021-22. … Matthew Kessel, D: The 22-year-old was selected in the fifth round (No. 150) of the 2020 draft and had 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 37 regular-season games for the University of Massachusetts Amherst last season before signing a three -year, entry-level contract March 27. He had three assists in 15 regular-season games and two points (one goal, one assist) in 18 Calder Cup Playoff games for Springfield of the American Hockey League.

What they still need

Depth at forward. Adding Acciari is a good addition for the bottom six; However, losing Perron removes a top-six player and, coupled with the losses of Bozak and Joshua, will thrust unproven players into the mix for a veteran group always looking for playoff success.

They said it

“We know that we have to improve. When I look back since 2011-12, we’ve been a consistent participant in the Western Conference. Chicago. [Blackhawks have] popped in there — we’ve had boots with them. We’ve had battles with Los Angeles [Kings]Nashville [Predators]Winnipeg [Jets]. Now it’s Colorado [Avalanche]. But what I look at is, we’re the team that’s there year in, year out and that’s our focus moving forward. There will be change. That’s just the nature of pro sport under a cap system, but I do like the group we’re bringing back.” — general manager Doug Armstrong

Fantasy focus

Goalie Jordan Binnington should be the Blues’ clear starter once again after a strong performance in the 2022 postseason and after Husso was traded to the Red Wings. Binnington struggled in the regular season (.901 save percentage in 37 games), but rebounded in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and was second in the NHL in save percentage (.949 in six games) behind Jake Oettinger (.954) of the Dallas Stars. Binnington, who had his best fantasy season in 2018-19 (.927 save percentage in 32 regular-season games) when he led the Blues to the Stanley Cup, is a fantasy bounce-back candidate who should be considered a top 25 goalie and fringe top-150 player. — Anna Dua

Projected lineup

Pavel BuchnevichRobert ThomasVladimir Tarasenko

Brandon SaadRyan O’ReillyJordan Kyrou

Jake Neighbors — Brayden Schenn — Ivan Barbashev

Klim Kostin — Noel Acciari — Nathan Walker

Nick LeddyColton Parayko

Torey KrugJustin Faulk

Marco ScandellaRobert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Alexey Toropchenko (shoulder)

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