St. Louis forward Jori Lehtera became the first Blues’ player since 1998 to score a natural hat trick tonight. Al MacInnis completed the feat on Oct. 12, 1998 during again against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Lehtera scored his fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the season tonight. His line, which includes Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz has eight points through 40 minutes.
Here’s a look at the three goals from Lehtera:
This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.
St. Louis Blues
1. Brett Hull — 1,099 votes
2. Al MacInnis — 267 votes
3. Wayne Gretzky — 175 votes
4. T.J. Oshie — 93 votes
It’s probably not a shock that The Golden Brett came away with the victory here.
Hull is the franchise’s all-time leader in goals with 527, third in games played and second in points behind fellow Hall of Famer Bernie Federko.
Curiously enough, Federko didn’t even make Top 4 on the vote even though he was the franchise’s all-time leader in scoring. He also netted the Blues the centerman that helped lead Hull to three consecutive 70-plus goal seasons, including 86 in 1990-91, in Adam Oates as he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for the young upstart pivot. The combination of Hull and Oates helped give the Blues some of the most prolific offense the franchise has ever seen in the early 90s.
Now that he’s back with the team as an executive vice president, Hull’s place with the franchise is solidified.
MacInnis checking in second in our vote shows the mark he left in St. Louis. Originally a Calgary Flame, he brought his wicked slap shot and leadership to a Blues team that had a young Chris Pronger that needed some guidance. Incredibly, he played 10 seasons with the Blues after spending 13 with Calgary and won the Norris Trophy in 1999.
We’re assuming you guys were joking around with all the votes for Gretzky. His 31 total games with the Blues (regular season and playoffs) in 1995-96 couldn’t have been that impressive.
This may not come as a surprise to anyone, but Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is quite good.
Examining his last three seasons in the league, his production on offense as well as solid play defensively, somehow has yet to make him a household name.
In 2010-2011, his first full NHL season, he put up 11 goals and 43 points. He followed that up the following season with 12 goals and 51 points. If you dug into his advanced numbers those seasons (’10-’11, ’11-’12), you’d see he was even better than those numbers detailed.
Even in last year’s lockout-shortened season, Pietrangelo had a great year with five goals and 24 points in 47 games. He and Kevin Shattenkirk were, by far, the Blues’ top two defensemen which makes it all the more curious Pietrangelo is still an unsigned restricted free agent.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong hopes a deal will get done before training camp and the team isn’t in peril with the salary cap with just under $8 million in cap space. Even owner Tom Stillman has crowed about the money they’ve spent to keep their other RFAs.
So what’s the problem here?
Pietrangelo is the best defenseman the Blues have had since Al MacInnis or Chris Pronger and at the ripe old age of 23 he’s a guy they can lock up in St. Louis until he’s 31 if they’d like. If they want to follow in Montreal’s footsteps with how they handled P.K. Subban’s two-year deal, they have to be careful.
They’re likely hoping the deal they inked Shattenkirk to will provide the framework they want, but if Pietrangelo continues to play this well, and perhaps even better, the price will only keep rising.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Phil Kessel usually starts his season off with a bang. Usually. He’s goalless through the first four games this season — the first time that’s happened since he was a rookie. Hello, Bizarro World. (Toronto Sun)
Dainius Zubrus is playing the role of house dad to rookie Stefan Matteau. (Fire & Ice)
B’s coach Claude Julien was really pleased with rookie Dougie Hamilton’s play against the Isles. (CSNNE.com)
St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk had a heart-t0-heart talk with Al MacInnis to get him back on track. Not bad help if you can get it. (Post-Dispatch)
The Gionta brothers (Brian and Stephen) are set to square off on Sunday. (Star-Ledger)
Nazem Kadri credits coach Randy Carlyle for his breakout this season. (Sportsnet)
Is Detroit’s defense getting… Better? (Detroit News)
New Jersey’s hot start shouldn’t be shocking anyone as there’s no way you can ever truly kill the Devils. (Fire & Ice)
Finally, Pavel Datsyuk’s sick-nasty passing skills were in full effect last night against Minnesota. (NHL.com)
The St. Louis Blues made a number of front office moves on Tuesday, shuffling around various individuals into new job titles — which included a move for franchise legend Al MacInnis.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong announced MacInnis would move from Vice President of Hockey Operations — a title he’s held since 2006 — to become senior advisor to the GM.
It’ll be curious to see how big a role MacInnis plays in St. Louis. The team already has an assistant GM in Kevin McDonald (who also serves as the head GM of AHL Peoria) and there’s still the curious case of John Davidson at play.
Davidson still has three years left on his contract as Blues President but has acknowledged he’s exploring his options elsewhere, which included interviewing with the Columbus Blue Jackets. St. Louis has a rather crowded front office but Davidson is still serving in some capacity — he was on hand at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh this past June.
In other Blues’ front office moves, Dave Taylor moved into MacInnis’ old role as VP of hockey ops while ex-NHLer Rob DiMaio was named Director of Pro Scouting.