Ken Hitchcock isn’t known as an offensive-minded coach. So it’s surprising that the St. Louis Blues suddenly have one of the most dangerous forward lines in the NHL to start the 2013-14 season. T.J. Oshie, David Backes and Alexander Steen have been all but unstoppable, and each member of the line is benefiting in some fashion.
Backes is bouncing back marvelously from a disappointing 2013 campaign. He only scored six goals in 42 games last year. Backes already has six goals this season, and is lighting the lamp like he’s never done before. The power play looks outstanding and is funneling through him, and he’s seen his point total jump to nine through seven games played.
The scoring hasn’t taken the edge off of the game that Backes typically plays though, as he’s still managed to post 19 PIMs.
While this combination is reviving a slumping Backes, the timing couldn’t have been better for Oshie. Every season it seems like he’s poised for a breakout year, and every season he seems to fall just a bit short. The way he’s been producing so far though, this could be the year that the Blues have been waiting for from the promising forward.
Oshie would be the “embattled” member on the line if it wasn’t for Steen’s presence. After being maligned for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’s settled in remarkably well in St. Louis. He’s always been a middle-forward for the Blues, never cementing his role as a second or third line guy.
Right now he looks like an All-Star. He has seven goals in seven games and is among the league leader in points. All told, the trio has produced 14 goals in only seven games and all three players could have career years if the chemistry continues to flow like it has. There’s just enough sandpaper on this line to prevent it from being pushed around, while there’s enough finish and talent to make it dangerous at all times.