Addressing Everything on the Table for the St. Louis Blues


As we get into the meat of the St. Louis Blues season, I thought it would be appropriate to address everything on the table. Some players have performed better than expected, while others have underperformed. The Note signed a goaltender who is arguably one of the greatest of all time, while also becoming the center of some trade rumors going around the NHL.  It’s still early in the season, but not too early to start talking what needs to happen next. After all, we’re only about a dozen games from mid-season. I have some concerns, I have some reliefs. I have some things I’m happy about, and I have some things I’m not happy about. I suppose in that notion, it’s no different from any season.

The biggest news this season so far has undoubtedly been the signing of the living legend, Martin Brodeur. Whether you love him or hate him, 690 career wins speaks for itself. With Brian Elliott going down with a knee injury, the Blues had little choice in signing another goaltender, even if it’s temporary. Whether you love Jake Allen or not, the fact is that he’s an unproven rookie. Some would say that Jordan Binnington could have been pressed into action. No offense to the young goalie, but he’s not NHL ready, not even close.

The Blues play in an extremely competitive division in a league that seems to be more competitive as a whole to begin this season. Any rough patch could prove very costly in the long run. The Blackhawks are just as good as last year, Nashville has stepped up, and the team that ended the season 1st in the Central in 2013-14, the Avalanche, is now in last.

Make no mistake, points are a precious commodity. So thinking that we should leave all that pressure to Allen and Binnington is, essentially, craziness. Confidence is everything in a young goaltender. If you left the workload on Allen’s shoulders and it proved too much, how do we know what that does him? How long would it take for him to get his confidence back? Those are questions I really don’t want answered right now.

I heard some say that bringing in someone like Brodeur could mess with Allen’s confidence. Why is that any different from splitting time with Elliott? Elliott has had a better save percentage than Brodeur over the last few seasons. In fact, Elliott and Brodeur now have the exact same career save percentage at .912. Allen is the future goaltender of this team. He knows that. We now have one of the best and most experienced goaltenders mentoring our future, while he helps in net and at a wholesale cost. Looking at it as strictly business, I love it. Looking at it with a sentimental bias, I love it even more. To be honest, I hope he makes it to 700 career wins while in St. Louis.

I’ve read a lot about the idea that the Blues may move Elliott now that Brodeur is here and looks good. I mean, if you look at the three games he’s played, excluding his debut against the Nashville Predators where the defense left him hanging all game, he’s done pretty well. Against Nashville, he rocked out a mere .833 save percentage. In the following games, he collected a .933 and .941, which averages out to .904 so far on the season. That’s a tad bit better than Allen’s season .902 mark.

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To me, even if Brodeur does very well while Elliott is out, the chance of the Note trading Elliott is as about as likely as me stepping outside on my porch and getting pied in the face by a clown. It can happen, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Brodeur is done after this season. The Blues aren’t trading Elliott just so they can find themselves looking for a new goalie come the offseason. Elliott gets about 2.5 million a year for the next few years and has consistently put up great numbers in a Blues uniform. The only way the Blues would trade Elliott is if another team would be willing to part with a superstar in a package deal. I’m talking about a game-changing forward. The Blues management definitely has a “win now” mentality, so if the right offer was made and a superstar was offered, then yeah, maybe it happens. Let me ask you this, though. If that were the case would you still be upset? I wouldn’t. That’s just food for thought for those concerned that the Blues may deal Elliott. Relax.

Elliott isn’t the only Blues player that has been dropped into the rumor mill, and the others are much more realistic. I know a lot of talk was swirling about a package deal for Jordan Eberle, as the Edmonton Oilers have interest in forward Patrik Berglund. At this point, it’s pretty well-known that the Oilers feel Berglund could be a top-six center on their second line. They need one. The problem is, all that they are willing to deal are players we either don’t want back (David Perron) or players that nobody wants (Nail Yakupov).

Oilers GM Craig MacTavish has gone back and forth on whether his top players, such as Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, were tradable. The latest news is no. Darren Dreger reported that McTavish no longer had any interest in trading any of his top line until perhaps the offseason. So forget about Eberle. in fact, I’d forget about the Oilers.

Another rumor has been in-line with the Boston Bruins. The Bruins sent reperesentatives to two games last week, with interest in a Blues forward. Not much else has been said. The fact that the Bruins were recently dangling left wing Brad Marchand in front of the Winnipeg Jets for forward Evander Kane, it wouldn’t surprise me if that would be their trade bait for us. Who do they want, though? In an ideal world, The Blues would love to move Patrik Berglund before his no-trade clause kicks in sometime in July. I really don’t think the Bruins would offer a straight-up deal of Marchand for Berglund, nor am I convinced that’s who they are interested in. Personally, I love Marchand. Don’t crucify me, but I’d even do an T.J. Oshie-for-Marchand straight up trade. Either way, some kind of trade could develop between the teams in the coming weeks or months.

Bear with me. I know this is all a lot to take in, but we’re almost done. The last thing I wanted to discuss was a few players, and where the team stands right now. Over the last few games I’ve seen some things that I really like, Some things I really don’t like, some things that concern me, and some things that have set my mind at ease. First I just want to say: Jaden Schwartz, Jori Lehtera, Vladimir Tarasenko…. WOW!!! I expected Schwartz and Tarasenko to have great seasons, but I did not expect Vladimir Tarasenko to become such a superstar this season. Right now, Tarasenko looks like a Hart Trophy candidate, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Jeremy Rutherford has said that Schwartz looks like a possible Selke candidate. Words cannot describe the pleasure that the “STL” line gives me.

Another player coming into a ground-breaking season is Kevin Shattenkirk. He is arguably the Blues’ best defensemen this year and has emerged as great offensive weapon with no loss of focus on defense. If he keeps this up, perhaps a Norris Trophy candidate?

The last few games we’ve gotten to see more of Petteri Lindbohm. His new nickname I give him is “Big Pete”. Big Pete has a humungous presence in front of the net. He’s feisty, gritty, relentless, and isn’t afraid to block a puck. I expect big things from him.

Now don’t get wrong, Alex Pietrangelo is a great defenseman, one of the best, but as of lately he’s been getting caught deep in the offensive zone. I’m sure Coach Ken Hitchcock encourages that, but he has to stay conscience of the players he’s letting behind him. The defense has struggled in general over the last few games, but with Jay Bouwmeester back, I hope everything tightens up and we can get back to normal. The Blues have a good defense, we’ve just had some costly hiccups as of recent. Last week I would have told you how concerned I was with the offense, excluding the “STL” line. This has changed, somewhat.

Players like Paul Stastny, T.J. Oshie, David Backes, and Alexander Steen have to produce more offensively. The last few games we have seen the production that we need from them, which hopefully will continue. When it comes to the playoffs, we can’t afford multi-game cold streaks. This is why Stastny was brought here in the first place. The Blues will undoubtedly fall early again unless our core players can remain consistent. If they’re firing on all cylinders, they are deadly and run with the best.  In the meantime, I’m excited to see what the rest of this season brings. Let’s Go Blues!!!