General Manager Doug Armstrong made the best out of shaky ownership situation going into the trade deadline. In all truth, while it is sad to see him go, the Blues did not need goalie Ben Bishop. Acquiring a second round pick for an unproven player should not be considered a bad move by any means. It is sad to see Bishop leave St. Louis, where there was a mutual love between him and his fans. While the ownership situation is the elephant in the room and remains mostly talked about behind the scenes, Doug Armstrong was adamant in expressing his confidence about the team going forward.
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Without having to move around any pieces, Armstrong believes his team will get better now, simply from improved health. We already know that the Blues have some of the league’s best young prospects (Bleedin’ Blue will be starting its coverage of prospects this week), and that the team will continue to improve over the next few years. Since the Predators made a statement this trade deadline and are clearly invested in the team right now now, the question remains: Are the Blues going to continue to be contenders for the Cup this year?
I’m putting my vote of confidence in Doug Armstrong. Currently, the Blues are on a three game winning streak on the road. They have three more away games in a row against the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, and San Jose Sharks. If the Blues can win all three they will be the top team in the Western Conference. I hate to use the cliché, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The Blues have the league’s best defense and two top-five goalies. That being said, there are some injuries to some important pieces.
Most notably perhaps is Center Alex Steen, who has been suffering from concussion symptoms and was placed on the IR on December 30th of 2011. In 36 games, Steen had 13 goals, 11 assists, and a +/- of 20. He was one of the most productive Blues player’s on the road. Right Wing Matt D’Agostini has been out with a concussion since February 8th, and fellow Right Wing Jamie Langenbrunner has been out since February 20th with a broken foot. The latest injury was to defenseman Kris Russell, who is also suffering from a concussion he suffered February 24th. It is not known when Steen or D’agostini will return, and Langenbrunner figures to be out for at least a few more weeks. While none of these players are “stars,” each brings a significant level of depth which will only help the Blues.
Doug Armstrong’s point about wanting to see the team healthy may sound like an excuse for not having money to work with, but it isn’t. Andy McDonald’s return from a concussion was a perfect representation of why. The Blue’s regained a veteran leader and an offensive spark in McDonald without having to make any moves. In his nine games since returning, McDonald has 3 goals, 2 shootout goals, and 5 assists. He has played quite well and has clearly improved the somewhat lacking Blues offense. I am not saying that Steen, D’agostini, Langenbrunner, or Russell will have roles as significant as McDonald’s, but their roles will be important nonetheless.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.