The St. Louis Blues are officially out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. St. Louis fell on Friday night, which put the final nail in their coffin. Interim head coach Drew Bannister now has to finish the final few games of the year. And then, he will have to present his case to officially replace former bench boss Craig Berube.

The Blues fired Berube back in December after a loss to the Detroit Red Wings. St. Louis got off to a rough start to the year, and general manager Doug Armstrong felt a change was needed. Under Bannister, the Blues have played rather well. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to get them into the playoffs.

St. Louis has an extremely important summer ahead of them. And the first item on the agenda is naming a new bench boss. With that in mind, let's take a look at three potential candidates to officially replace Craig Berube as the next Blues head coach.

Drew Bannister, interim Blues head coach

First, we have to start with Drew Bannister. The interim Blues head coach has certainly earned consideration for the permanent role. Berube was fired in the early morning hours of December 13th, meaning he's been on the job for most of the season. And Bannister has done well given the situation.

Bannister has led the Blues to a 28-19-4 record under his watch. It's certainly not a world-beating performance, but a solid job nonetheless. This record translates into a .550 winning percentage. Over a full 82-game pace, this works out to a record of 45-30-6, good for 96 points.

Bannister has also overseen the development for a few of the core Blues players. For instance, Robert Thomas has thrived this season. He has set new career highs for goals (25), assists (60), and points (85). In fact, he leads all Blues skaters in points by a wide margin. Other standouts include Jake Neighbours and Jordan Kyrou.

The Blues can go in any direction they wish to replace Craig Berube. However, Drew Bannister certainly has a case to be the permanent Blues head coach. The players have responded to him this year. And that can give the front office confidence that they will continue to respond to him moving forward.

Dean Evason, former Wild head coach

Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Evason looks on during the first period against the Ottawa Senators at Xcel Energy Center.
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

If the Blues want to go in another direction, Dean Evason could be a fine fit. Evason spent parts of five seasons with the Minnesota Wild before being fired earlier this season. His resume with the Wild doesn't jump off the page. However, when put in proper context, he could be a good choice for Blues head coach.

Evason took over the Wild in 2019-20, right before the COVID-19 stoppage. He guided them through the pandemic-shortened season and beyond, as well. He helped Minnesota make the Stanley Cup Playoffs four times as the bench boss in the State of Hockey. That being said, the team never won a playoff series.

Evason, for part of his tenure, was tasked with leading a team that had very little room to make necessary improvements. The Wild bought out former stars Ryan Suter and Zach Parise in July 2021. As a result, they incurred $14 million of dead cap space, handcuffing the team for a few years.

Despite that, the former Wild head coach had his best seasons in that environment. In fact, he led Minnesota to back-to-back 100+ point campaigns. This includes the franchise's best regular season finish in 2021-22 when they finished with 113 points.

Evason certainly isn't the sexiest candidate on the market. That said, he has proven he can get the best out of the group he's given. And if St. Louis helps him, he could bring playoff success as the next Blues head coach.

Jay Woodcroft, former Oilers head coach

The Edmonton Oilers entered the 2023-24 NHL season with high hopes. They were two games from returning to the Western Conference Final, where they went during the 2022 playoffs. And they set their sights on finally winning the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1990.

However, they began the season in the worst way possible. And it led to the firing of head coach Jay Woodcroft. That worked out well for the Oilers. But with that being said, Woodcroft is a name to watch to become Blues head coach.

Woodcroft spent parts of three seasons behind the bench in Edmonton. And he led the team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the two years prior to this year. They went to the Western Conference Final, falling to the Colorado Avalanche. And they fell in the second round last season to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Woodcroft ran into the eventual Stanley Cup champion both times. That's certainly a case of harsh luck. But what he did show is that he can make deep playoff runs. Yes, it helps to have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. That being said, the last time they got that far was 2016-17. Woodcroft certainly played some role in that success.

Jay Woodcroft is a veteran head coach who can take teams deep into the playoffs. He would work well with Robert Thomas and the rest of the Blues roster. If he is interested, St. Louis has to consider him as a potential candidate to replace Craig Berube.