As Blues coach Mike Yeo made an eight-hour drive to St. Louis on Sunday, he recalled his feelings of coming to town a year ago as the team’s “coach in waiting.”

“I remember walking into the locker room the first day last year and you don’t know who the players are,” Yeo said. “It’s a different story when they don’t have their uniforms on, so you’re trying to introduce yourself and figure out who’s who. That was obviously quite the process to go through, to come in and learn a new organization and their personalities.

"This year is a much different story. I feel much more confident and comfortable with this group, and I feel like we’re ready to hit the ground running.”

The Blues will open their first training camp under Yeo on Sept. 15. He’s looking forward to finally having time to install his own systems, something he wasn’t afforded after replacing Ken Hitchcock on the fly in February. The club did go 22-8-2 in 32 regular-season games under Yeo and play two rounds into the postseason despite only limited tweaks, so he believes that bodes well.

“I’m excited for the start of camp to introduce and add on to what we introduced last year,” Yeo said. “The biggest part of our job, we always want to provide the players with the X’s and O’s, and give them the chance to go out and be on the same page is very important. We started to incorporate some of the way we want to play — pace of play and little more of a speed mentality and the structure of the defensive-zone coverage — last year. Some of those things we brought in last year, but given the way the schedule was toward the end of the year, we didn’t bring in everything.”

The Blues will also be working in some new players at the start of the season, and it will be up to Yeo and his new coaching staff to see where they fit. The most notable is Brayden Schenn, who was acquired from Philadelphia in exchange for Jori Lehtera.