Description: Blues left wing Alex Steen missed the team's morning skate with an illness but he's feeling better and is officially active for Saturday's game versus Anaheim. SOURCE: Lou Korac, NHL.com
Insight: That's about all you need to know. Steen (20 goals, 12 assists) is having a career-year and needs to be started in all formats. Steen's presence is also good news for owners of T.J. Oshie and David Backes.
Description: St. Louis left wing Alex Steen (illness) will be a game-time decision Saturday against the Ducks, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Insight: Steen finally seems to be slowing down after his scorching start to the season. He has three goals and three assists over his last nine games after putting up 17 goals and nine assists over his first 18 games.
Description: Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester brought his point total to 21 with one goal and one assist Thursday against the Islanders.
Insight: The 30-year-old blueliner has two goals and 19 assists in 27 games. He had four straight seasons with at least 37 points from 2005-2009 with the Panthers but hasn't reached 30 points since then. He's on pace for a career-high 64 points this season.
Description: St. Louis left wing Alex Steen has scored three goals in the last two games.
Insight: Steen looked to be going into a regression period when he had zero points in three games from Nov. 17-21, but he has rebounded with four points in the last three. There's no way anyone can be skeptical at this point, as Steen has 20 goals and 30 points in 24 games.
Description: Blues center David Backes scored his ninth goal of the season Thursday against the Bruins.
Insight: Backes only had six goals in 48 games in 2012-13, but he already has three more than that in 21 games this season. The Backes-T.J. Oshie-Alexander Steen line has been one of the most successful lines in the NHL this season.
Description: St. Louis center T.J. Oshie scored his first goal since Oct. 26 Saturday against Carolina.
Insight: Oshie was coming off a four-assist game Thursday against Colorado and now has three goals and 17 points in 18 games. The David Backes, Alex Steen and Oshie line is really clicking and providing ridiculous fantasy production for all involved.
Description: St. Louis left wing Alex Steen had a goal and one assist Saturday against Carolina, giving him 17 goals in 18 games.
Insight: It was easy to be skeptical of Steen's production at first -- he's 29 and has never had more than 24 goals or 51 points in a season -- but there's been no slowing his roll so far. He's also taking more SOG lately than he was earlier in the season, which should help him maintain some of his scoring even when his .266 scoring percentage dips. Even if you're selling high, there's no reason to accept anything other than a proven star player in return at this point.
Description: St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott will be back in net Saturday against Carolina.
Insight: Elliott is one of the top backup goalies in the NHL but he has rarely received the chance to play this season. Saturday will be just his fourth start of the season. If he plays well, he could get more starts, as Jaroslav Halak has posted an .887 SV% in November.
Description: High-scoring Blues forward Alex Steen added an assist Saturday versus Pittsburgh.
Insight: The significance of this relatively minor achievement is that it was Steen's tenth consecutive game with at least one point. He's been fantasy's biggest surprise this season with 14 goals and seven helpers in his first 15 games.
Description: Blues winger Alex Steen scored his 13th goal of the season Tuesday against the Canadiens.
Insight: Amazing. Steen now has 13 goals and 19 points in 13 games this season. While it's doubtful he can keep this up -- he's 29 years old and his career high in points is 51 -- fantasy owners also shouldn't sell him unless they can get back a proven star in return.
Description: Blues winger Chris Stewart is probable for Tuesday's game against Winnipeg while recovering from an upper body injury.
Insight: Stewart's 18 goals and 18 assists in 48 games exceeded what he produced the previous season in 79 games, but his mediocre two points through the first nine games might mean he's returning to a lower production level.
Description: Blues winger Alex Steen has seven goals and 11 points in his first seven games this season.
Insight: Steen had two goals Friday night against the Jets. The 29-year-old has attempted 20 SOG in seven games and scored at a .350 clip, well above his .095 career percentage. Even if that regresses, he should still top his career-high 51 points this season.
Description: Blues goaltender Brian Elliott will make his first start of the season Friday at Winnipeg. Elliott wasn't need the first four games but the Blues had to pull Jaroslav Halak Tuesday against San Jose after he allowed four goals in two periods.
Insight: The 28-year-old Elliott had a tumultuous start to the 2012-13 season, going 3-7-1 with a 3.65 GAA and an .851 SV% in the first three months, but went 11-2-0 with a 1.28 GAA, a .948 SV% and three shutouts in April. If he can play well Friday, he could earn more playing time, as Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has showed the tendency to play the hot hand.
Description: St. Louis winger Vladimir Tarasenko has scored a goal in four straight games.
Insight: The 21-year-old gave us a glimpse of his potential early last season before suffering a concussion and getting inconsistent playing time when he returned. He's off to another flying start with four goals and five points in the first five games.
Description: St. Louis winger Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist Saturday against the Panthers.
Insight: The 21-year-old started off his rookie season red hot with five goals and 10 points over his first eight games, but he slowed down before suffering a concussion in February and finished with eight goals and 19 points in 38 games. He should see more ice time as a sophomore and has the talent to be a standout player.
Description: Winger Brenden Morrow had his first Blues goal and assist Saturday against the Panthers.
Insight: The 34-year-old Morrow was quiet in his debut with the team Thursday. He spent his entire career with Dallas, racking up 528 points in 835 games before being traded to the Penguins last March. He had six goals and 14 points in 15 games with the Penguins, but don't expect that kind of production with the Blues, who are stocked with capable forwards.
Description: St. Louis netminder Jaroslav Halak needed to make just 19 stops to shut out the Panthers Saturday night.
Insight: Being a Blues goaltender is great. For several years St. Louis has ranked near the top of the league for fewest SOG allowed, and Halak and Brian Elliott have not had to do much to post excellent GAAs.
Description: St. Louis netminder Jaroslav Halak will start the season opener Thursday against the Predators.
Insight: Halak had a subpar .899 SV% last season but since the Blues didn't allow many SOG he still had a strong 2.14 GAA. Injuries limited him to 16 games (15 starts), however, and he sat behind Brian Elliott in the playoffs. The two will be in a timeshare again in 2013-14, with Halak getting 55-60 percent of the starts. Jake Allen, who went 9-4-0 with a .905 SV% and a 2.46 GAA as a rookie, could be back up with the big club if either Halak or Elliott struggles.
Description: The Blues signed Chris Stewart to a two-year, $8.3 million contract to avoid arbitration.
Insight: Stewart's 18 goals and 18 assists in 48 games exceeded what he produced the previous season in 79 games, but 10 goals and 24 points came during an 18-game stretch from Feb. 9 to March 16 when the team was dealing with some injuries.
Description: Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk had agreed to a four-year, $17 million contract extension, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Insight: Shattenkirk had five goals, 23 points and 84 SOG in 48 games last season, which extrapolates to eight goals, 39 points and 143 SOG a full season. Those numbers are right in line with what he accomplished in 2011-12.
Description: Blues forward T.J. Oshie is expected to be activated from injured reserve for Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals Tuesday against Los Angeles after undergoing foot surgey in March.
Insight: Oshie has seven goals and 20 points in 30 games this season and can help any fantasy lineup, but it should be noted that he did participate in Sunday's practice.
Description: Blues goaltender Brian Elliott recorded his third consecutive shutout with 23 saves Thursday against the Wild.
Insight: Elliott had nine shutouts, a 1.56 GAA and .940 SV% last season, but his performance earlier this season was so awful that he started just one game from Feb. 12 to April 3. He has certainly redeemed himself lately. Jake Allen is scheduled to start Friday, but the Blues might want to reconsider.
Description: Blues goaltender Brian Elliott made it two shutouts in a row by blanking Nashville Tuesday night.
Insight: Elliott had nine shutouts, a 1.56 GAA and .940 SV% last season, but his performance earlier this season was so awful that he started just one game from Feb. 12 to April 3. Elliot faced just 15 shots Tuesday, further proof that being in net for the Blues is a great place for any netminder.
Description: Blues goaltender Brian Elliott recorded his first shutout of the 2013 season by saving 28 shots Sunday against the Red Wings.
Insight: Elliott had nine shutouts, a 1.56 GAA and .940 SV% last season, but he came into Sunday's game with a 3.43 GAA and .866 SV%. His performance earlier this season was so awful that he started just one game from Feb. 12 to April 3. Elliott should start most of the remaining games with Jaroslav Halak out for a few weeks.
Description: St. Louis Blues center Scott Nichol is doubtful for Friday's game against Columbus with general body soreness.
Insight: Nichol hasn't skated in a couple of games and missed Thursday's game. Coach Ken Hitchcock is hopeful of getting him back for the weekend, but he holds no value for fantasy owners with one point in 30 games.
Description: St. Louis netminder Jaroslav Halak will miss at least three weeks due to a lower-body injury that is related to the groin injury he suffered earlier this season, according to Pierre Lebrun of TSN.
Insight: It's looking unlikely that he will be able to return before the end of the regular season. Fantasy owners should grab Jake Allen, who played well in March when Halak was struggling. Brian Elliot will also be in the mix, but he has saved just 85.9 percent of his shots this season.
Description: Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was traded to the Blues on Monday.
Insight: The Flames received a package of Reta Berra, Mark Cundari and a draft pick in the swap. Bouwmeester ranks 33rd in points among NHL defenseman this season (15 points in 33 contests). Unfortunately, his plus/minus rating is one of the league's worst (-11).
Description: The Blues sent Jake Allen to the minors on Saturday, leaving Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot as the two netminders on the team.
Insight: Allen was called up in March when Halak was struggling and went 5-0 with one shutout in his first five starts of the month. However, Halak has played better and Elliot is ready to return after being exiled for allowing 23 goals in his last 286 minutes (4.83 GAA).
Description: St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak will start Thursday's game against the Kings.
Insight: Jake Allen's run as the starter came to a disappointing end Tuesday when he allowed three goals in 25 minutes and was pulled for Halak. Halak has allowed three goals over his last 154 minutes.
Description: St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak entered Tuesday's game against Edmonton in relief after Jake Allen allowed three goals on seven shots in 25 minutes.
Insight: Halak often has had to sit on the sidelines this month while Allen has been hot but he picked up a shutout this week and saved all 12 shots he saw Tuesday. He should be in line for more action as long as he doesn't falter in his next start.
Description: St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak will start again Sunday against the Flames after shutting out Edmonton Saturday night in his first start since March 10.
Insight: Halak owners have been patiently waiting while Jake Allen has gone 5-1 with a 1.99 GAA in six starts since March 7. The Blues' defense allows just 23.9 SOG per game, tops in the NHL, and it's about time their goaltenders started taking advantage of that.
Description: St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak came away with a shutout he desperately needed Saturday against Edmonton. He was starting his first game since March 10.
Insight: Fantasy owners have been patiently waiting while Jake Allen has gone 5-1 with a 1.99 GAA in six starts since March 7. The Blues' defense allows just 23.9 SOG per game, tops in the NHL, and it's about time their goaltenders started taking advantage of that.
Description: St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak will make his first start since March 10 when the Blues take on Edmonton Saturday.
Insight: Fantasy owners have been patiently waiting while Jake Allen has gone 5-1 with a 1.99 GAA in six starts since March 7. Halak has a solid 2.38 GAA this season but that is misleading since St. Louis allows the fewest SOG in the NHL. Halak's .881 SV% should tell fantasy owners how he really has played in 2013.
Description: Blues goaltender Jake Allen will make his fourth straight start Tuesday against Vancouver.
Insight: Allen has won five straight starts and eight of nine this season while posting a 2.19 GAA and .920 SV%. The team has handed him the goaltending reigns for now in place of Jaroslav Halak while it tries to hold onto a playoff spot.
Description: Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko is active for Saturday's game versus Anaheim. Tarasenko hasn't played since suffering a concussion February 20th in Colorado.
Insight: Tarasenko has been helpful in all fantasy categories this season (six goals, six assists, eight penalty minutes in 17 games). His production has been especially impressive when you consider that he's only 21 years old. Tarasenko is still available in almost 83 percent of ESPN leagues.
Description: Blues forward T.J. Oshie will miss Saturday's game against Anaheim due to sore ribs, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Insight: The Blues will miss Oshie's scoring punch (17 points in 26 games) though they are starting to get healthier up front with the return of Alexander Steen and possibly Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion) or Andy McDonald (knee).
Description: Jake Allen will draw another start in goal for St. Louis Tuesday against the Sharks.
Insight: Allen has won two straight starts since being recalled from the minors despite allowing three goals in both and Jaroslav Halak lost to the Ducks Sunday. We could see Allen continue to get two-thirds of the starts if he plays well again Tuesday.
Description: Blues forward Alex Steen (upper body) could make his return to action Tuesday against the Sharks. He has missed seven straight games with a shoulder injury. SOURCE: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Insight: Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said the team wants to wait and see how Steen feels before letting him play. "Steen took a full skate today," Hitchcock said. "We'll see how he feels in a few hours. If we he feels OK, then we'll talk to him. If not, then we'll wait on that. It's a very fluid roster right now. I don't know our lineup."
Description: Blues forward T.J. Oshie briefly left Saturday's game in the second period with an arm injury but returned and finished with three SOG in 19 minutes.
Insight: Tests came back negative, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, so it appears the Blues have avoided another injury to a key forward. Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen and Andy McDonald are all on injured reserve.
Description: Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka had his first career hat trick Saturday against San Jose.
Insight: Sobotka has received more ice time lately with Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen and Andy McDonald on injured reserve. He has taken advantage with six goals and an assist in five games this month.
Description: The Blues will start Jake Allen in goal Thursday against the Coyotes.
Insight: Allen (3-1, 2.62 GAA, .895 SV%) was recalled Wednesday after Jaroslav Halak blew a 4-1 lead Tuesday night. Brian Elliot's struggles have made it necessary to call up Allen when Halak is also having issues in net. St. Louis has allowed the fewest SOG per game so this is a favorable situation for goaltenders if anyone can take control.
Description: St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak choked away a 4-1 lead by allowing four late goals Tuesday against the Kings. The team responded by recalling Jake Allen Wednesday.
Insight: Halak has a strong 2.31 GAA but his SV% is just .884 since St. Louis doesn't give up a ton of SOG. Backup Brian Elliot has been abysmal with a 3.65 GAA this season so the team can't turn to him with confidence when Halak is struggling.
Description: Blues goaltender Brian Elliott saw his first action since Feb. 11 Sunday against the Stars but he gave up four goals on 27 shots.
Insight: Not only has Elliott not lived up to last season's numbers -- 23-10, 1.56 GAA, .940 SV% -- he has been one of the worst netminders in the NHL. Elliott has allowed 22 goals over his last five appearances.
Description: Blues forward Andy McDonald has been placed on injured reserve with a left knee injury, according to Blues.nhl.com
Insight: McDonald went down in Tuesday's practice and is considered week-to-week. McDonald has been skating on the second line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Steen, who are all currently injured. Look for Chris Stewart, Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund to form the No. 2 line for St. Louis going forward unless Steen's head injury proves to be minor, in which case he would replace Berglund.
Description: Blues forward Andy McDonald had to be helped off the ice during Tuesday's practice and eventually limped to the locker room, according to Lou Korac of NHL.com.
Insight: McDonald got tangled up with another player and suffered an undisclosed lower-body injury. Alex Steen was also injured, taking a stick to the face. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said he would know more about both players Wednesday.
Description: Blues left wing David Perron scored the game-winning goal halfway through the third period Saturday night versus Columbus.
Insight: Perron only played 57 games last season after suffering a concussion the previous season but had 42 points (0.74 ppg). He's playing at a nearly identical pace this season with 13 points in 18 games (0.72 ppg).
Description: St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak has made 38 saves on 40 attempts in his first two games since returning to the lineup from a groin injury.
Insight: Halak was injured on Feb. 1 and missed eight games while St. Louis floundered with Brian Elliot, who was benched in favor of Jake Allen. Allen stabilized the position for the Blues for a few games before turning things over to Halak and heading back to the minors.
Description: St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak has been upgraded to probable for Wednesday's game against Colorado. He's been dealing with a strained groin.
Insight: Halak hasn't appeared in a game for St. Louis since Feb 1. Jake Allen has played well (3-1-0, 2.62 GAA, .895 SV%) and could get one more start, but most believe it will be Halak between the pipes against the Avs.
Description: Blues goaltender Brian Elliott will find himself on the bench again Sunday when St. Louis opposes Vancouver. Jake Allen will get a third straight start.
Insight: Jaroslav Halak is still dealing with an injury, leaving Elliott and Allen to play between the pipes. Elliott allowed 18 goals over his last four starts so Allen has been the choice to start the last three games.
Description: Blues rookie sensation Vladimir Tarasenko ended his four-game points drought with a goal on one shot Wednesday against Detroit.
Insight: The 21-year-old Tarasenko posted a minus-7 rating over his last four games and saw his ice time dip to 12 minutes on Wednesday. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock notoriously favors veterans over rookies so now might be the time to sell Tarasenko despite his immense talent.
Description: Blues rookie sensation Vladimir Tarasenko has hit a rough patch after a hot start to his NHL career. He hasn't recorded a point in the last four games while taking just five SOG and registering a minus-7 in that span.
Insight: The 21-year-old Tarasenko had five goals and 10 points with 26 SOG and a plus-6 over his first eight games. He should rebound soon, we just hope coach Ken Hitchcock continues to play the youngster while he is struggling.
Description: St. Louis Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak (groin) was activated from the injured reserve on Sunday, but re-injured the groin in warmup on Monday.
Insight: He is expected to miss about one week, according to Renaud Lavoie of RDS. Brian Elliot has struggled in net a bit lately, giving up 18 goals in his last four games, but was excellent last season and should come around.
Description: St. Louis Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak (groin) was activated from the injured reserve on Sunday.
Insight: Backup Brian Elliot has struggled a bit lately, giving up 14 goals in his last three games, so this is a great time for Halak to return. Halak is 3-0-0 this season with a 2.10 GAA and two shutouts. He's expected to start Monday against the Kings.
Description: Blues goaltender Brian Elliott gave up five goals in 65 minutes Saturday against Anaheim and then lost in the shootout.
Insight: Elliott was handed the starting goaltenders job when Jaroslav Halak went on injured reserve but he has given up 14 goals in 154 minutes over his last three games. Coach Ken Hitchcock said after the game that Elliott has to play better, and mentioned that if Halak isn't ready for Monday's game, Jake Allen will make his first NHL start.
Description: Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak (groin) was seen walking around the locker room Tuesday without noticeable pain. He's hoping to practice Friday. SOURCE: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Insight: Backup Brian Elliot allowed four goals in 29 minutes Tuesday against Nashville. It's unclear if he will start again Thursday. Halak could return Saturday versus Anaheim if he can practice without a setback Friday.
Description: St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott melted down Tuesday versus Nashville. He gave up four goals on 11 shots in 29 minutes before getting pulled, and backup Jake Allen finished by allowing two more goals on eight shots in 31 minutes.
Insight: With Jaroslav Halak out with an injury, that's not what the Blues were looking for from Elliott, especially against the Predators' lackluster offense.
Description: St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak left Friday's game after taking a puck off his mask in the first period.
Insight: Coming off a great 2011-12 campaign, Halak has already won three games this season with a 2.10 GAA and a .889 save percentage. Brian Elliott is perfectly capable of getting the job done if Halak is sidelined.
Description: Blues forward Patrik Berglund has never scored more than 22 goals in a season but he already has five in eight games.
Insight: Berglund scored again Friday against the Red Wings on three shots to give him 18 SOG this season. He skates on the third line at even strength but has played on the team's most-used power-play line this season.
Description: Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has been a facilitator this season but he finally scored his first goal of the season Friday against the Red Wings.
Insight: Shattenkirk had eight assists over his first seven games. He contributes assists, shots, penalty minutes and a strong plus/minus while also throwing in a goal every once in a while for fantasy owners.
Description: St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak will start between the pipes Friday at Detroit.
Insight: It's the same team he shut out on opening night. Halak is 3-0 with a 1.69 GAA and two shutouts in four starts this season, while backup Brian Elliot has gone 3-1 with a 2.25 GAA in four appearances (three starts).
Description: Blues defenseman Wade Redden (illness) will play Friday against the Red Wings.
Insight: The Redden signing has gone well for St. Louis so far -- he has two goals on six shots in three games. He's been getting significant playing time as a top-four blueliner for the Blues since making his debut three games ago. As long as he keeps skating with Alex Pietrangelo he should continue to post numbers closer to his Ottawa days.
Description: St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott will get the start Thursday against the Blue Jackets. SOURCE: Lou Korac, NHL.com
Insight: Jaroslav Halak has been confirmed for Friday's game against the Red Wings. This will be Elliott's third start and fourth appearance of the season. He hasn't been as good as Halak but we are willing to give him more time after he played lights out last season.
Description: St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott will stand in for Jaroslav Halak Sunday against the Wild.
Insight: Halak already has three wins and two shutouts but he isn't going to play both games of back-to-backs with a goaltender of Elliot's caliber backing him up. We expect Halak to get two-thirds of the starts.
Description: Blues defenseman Wade Redden will make his debut with the team on Thursday and will skate with Alex Pietrangelo. SOURCE: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Insight: Carlo Colaiacovo skated with Pietrangelo most of the time last season and had two goals and 17 assists with a plus-7 differential in 64 games. Pietrangelo has played on St. Louis' top defensive pairing with Ian Cole this season but Redden is a better player than both Colaiacovo and Cole so he could produce fantasy-worthy totals.
Description: St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak will start Thursday's game versus Nashville after sitting Tuesday against the Blackhawks.
Insight: Halak shut out Detroit on just 14 shots in the season opener but only lasted 33 minutes Monday against the Predators before Brian Elliot picked up a win in relief. We expect a much better effort Thursday in a rematch with the Preds.
Description: The Blues have officially activated defenseman Wade Redden.
Insight: Redden agreed to a one-year, $800,000 contract with St. Louis last Friday. The 35-year-old hasn't appeared in an NHL game since 2010 when he played for the Rangers. He's tallied 106 goals and 344 assists in 994 career games.
Description: St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott will start his first game of the season Tuesday against Chicago, one night after picking up his first win in relief of Jaroslav Halak.
Insight: Elliott had an unreal season in 2011-12 as St. Louis' backup. He led the league with a 1.56 GAA and .940 SV% and had nine shutouts and 23 wins in 36 starts. The netminder played 32 minutes and blanked the Predators Monday after they scored three goals off Halak. Start him in all leagues on Tuesday.
Description: Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko knocked in two goals Saturday in his NHL debut.
Insight: Both goals went top shelf as St. Louis absolutely destroyed the Red Wings 6-0 in the season opener. Don't be surprised if the 21-year-old takes home Rookie of the Year honors at the end of the season.