Central NHL

Possible Blues Number Retirements

Possible Blues Number Retirements
Hockey Hall of Fame member Chris Pronger walks onto the field at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on January 8, 2017. The St. Louis Blues alumni and St. Louis Cardinals alumni played a game on the ice at Busch Stadium, where the NHL Winter Classic game was played last week. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

With the upcoming retirement of Chris Pronger’s number 44, it makes one think of other possible Blues number retirements that could happen. Pronger should have had his number lifted to the rafters sometime in 2020-21, but like most things, Covid postponed that. Now, come January 17, 2022, number 44 will hang in the Enterprise Center. His 18 years in the NHL contained 9 with the Blues. He was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in the class of 2015. Pronger had been a physical and strong player who well deserved all of his accolades. This big heavy hitting defenseman will watch his number rise and be next to Al Macinnis #2, Bob Gassoff #3, Bob Plager #5, Barclay Plager #8, Brian Sutter #11, Brett Hull #16, and Bernie Federko #24. Who will be the next to have their number join these St Louis greats?

Red Berenson #7 or #9

Berenson is a throwback a little. It’s never too late to acknowledge a long-retired star though. Red was a Blue during their inaugural season. From 1967-1971 he wore the Blue note on the ice. Later he returned and played from 1974-1978. He was the second man to wear the C for the Blues, having it for his short season in 79-71, and again in 77-78. After retirement from playing, Red became the coach for the Blues. Spending 79-82. He lead them to the quarter finals in 80-81 and won the Jack Adams Award. His playing career for the Blues was a bit more illustrious than his short coaching stint for them. During his 8 seasons with the Blues he played in 519 regular season games and had a total of 172 goals and 412 points for the team.

More importantly, he was a key component in their runs the Stanley Cup Finals their first three seasons in the NHL. Of the 6 playoff runs the Blues had with him, Red played in 55 games and had 21 goals and 33 points. His impact on the Blues organization’s history deserves more recognition. Inducted into the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, and the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. He is yet to be inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame, but I think that should be likely in the coming years. He was even inducted into the St Louis Sports Hall of Fame in 2013, so why not retire his number? Possibly they’re trying to figure out which of his two numbers to retire? Personally I’d retire number 7, he was the first Blue to wear it after all.

Barret Jackman #5

Jackman was an intimidating presence on the ice. One of the last real enforcers for the Blues. Spending all but one season of his 14 NHL season with the Blues, he was even offered a one-day contract so that he could retire as a Blue. This guy was die-hard for the Blue note, and bleed for it. His first full season he won the Calder Trophy and was on the All-Rookie Team. Of course as a defensemen his point numbers aren’t too impressive. His biggest impact was playing in 803 games, averaging over 20 minutes a game and having a +53 over 13 seasons with the Blues.

Their playoff runs were rather lackluster while Jackman was there. During their 7 playoff visits, he only had 39 games and a tough -19. Of course, this doesn’t take anything away from him. He was a protector of the team during his years in St Louis. Totaling over 1000 penalty minutes he wasn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone. I was always drawn in to his leadership and was disappointed he never wore the C for the Blues. He did however have the A from 2006 until he left in 2015. His number 5 would sit nicely next to Bob Plagers. Jackman is probably a few years away from possibly having his retired but it would be a great honor to the lifelong Blue.

Eric Brewer #4

Eric was Captain of the Blues from 2008-11. He’s less likely to see his numbers in the rafters but his play was still worth mentioning as in the distant future he could be an option. He spent 6 of his 16 year NHL career with the Blues. His 30 goals and 95 points as a defenseman were fairly impressive. More impressive was averaging over 23:35 a game. He was a great leader and played hard for the Blues, but as mentioned, he’s not super likely to have his number retired by the Blues.

Other Future Possiblities

As the great history of the Blues grows, you can expect the team to retire more numbers in the future. Some current or recently retired or traded players that could see their numbers hung up in 10 to 15 years are as follows. David Backes #42, spent 10 years with Blues before leaving for Boston, and 5 of those as team Captain. Though he left fans feeling a little disgruntled and proceeded to be on the team the Blues beat for their first Cup, he is still a viable candidate in the distant future to have his number retired. Alex Pietrangelo #27, a 12 year Blue before leaving for Las Vegas. Most notably Captain of the Cup winning team in 2019. Eventually some years after his retirement he could have his number retired. Lastly, Vladimir Tarasenko #91. Even with his recent trade request, and drama surrounding that. Tarasenko looks like a lifelong Blue, currently 10 years in and has racked up impressive stats. Depending on how the remainder of his career plays out he is a great option for a jersey retirement in the distant future.

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