Best Blues Player St. Louis 2006 - Jason Bacashihua
Readers' Choice: Doug Weight
Let's not kid ourselves: It was a grim year to be a Blues fan. Key players were traded, injuries piled up, and wins were in short supply. But on the night Al MacInnis' number was retired, the Blues showed they still had their pride. With Chopper in the building and the opposing Edmonton Oilers fighting for a berth in the playoffs (seemed to work out pretty well for them, by the way), the battered Blues ground out a 2-1 victory. Meaningless? Not at all. Jason Bacashihua displayed flashes of brilliance between the pipes that night, exhibiting quick glove work and smart positioning that belied his year-end total of four victories. For that one night, with an inspired team in front of him, the first-year, third-string goalie looked Vezina-worthy. And that's what the Blues have needed in the crease since the departure of Curtis Joseph: a goalie who can hold up his end of the bargain in the big game. Bacashihua may not be ready to do it consistently, or even to claim the starting job this year. But if he stays healthy and hungry, he could be the goalie of the Blues' future. And now that the ownership has been settled and Erik Johnson is on the roster, it looks like the Blues actually have a future. Bacashihua his name means hope.