While St Louis Blues fans are still reeling from the Ryan Miller and Steve Ott acquisitions that occurred last week, major questions loom about the legitimacy of the Blues scoring depth as they head into the final stretch of the regular season.
Without a doubt, the Blues are one of the top five teams in the Western conference. But the road to the Cup is almost certainly going through Chicago, Anaheim or Los Angeles; three teams that are embarrassingly loaded up front.
There’s no question that the likes of Toews, Kane, Hossa, Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, Carter, Richards and Kopitar are going to score goals in the playoffs, but the question is, can the Blues’ forwards keep pace?
With the current roster, the loss of (minimalist) scorer, Chris Stewart, and examining their most recent defeat against Anaheim on Friday night, my answer to the scoring pace question is probably not.
The Blues need to add supplementary scoring before tomorrow’s, March 5th, Trade Deadline to relieve the pressure on Alex Steen and David Backes. And one legit scorer that will inevitably be traded is New York Islander’s winger, Thomas Vanek, who was a late scratch tonight in the Isles game versus Winnipeg.
Vanek is a proven, consistent goal scorer, having scored at least 20 goals in every season since he’s been in the NHL, including two seasons scoring 30+ goals and two more seasons scoring 40+ goals.
Not to mention that the two seasons he scored the 40+ goals, there was a center man in Buffalo named Derek Roy setting him up for many of those tallies.
And yes, the asking price for Vanek is substantial, rumored to be a proven NHL player, first round pick and prospect, but this is the right guy, and the right time, for the Blues. With such a young core of forwards, St Louis has the luxury of giving up additional first round draft picks and prospects without sacrificing the future of the franchise.
One thing working in the Blues (or any team for that matter) favor is the incompetency of Isles GM, Garth Snow. This is a general manager who is still paying a Russian defector in Alexi Yashin and an all-time goaltending bust in Rick DiPietro. Snow added to his, um, impressive resume by trading away young superstar, Matt Moulson, a first- and a second-round pick to bring Vanek to the island earlier this year.
So no doubt the pressure is on Snow to recoup some of the atrocious losses he forced onto his club in the original Vanek deal, thus this may be the perfect time for Blues GM, Doug Armstrong, to take advantage of an inferior and desperate manager.
This is truly speculation at this point, but a trade for Vanek would instantly make the Blues the favorite to win the Cup.
And winning the Cup is the only thing that Blues fans should be focused on.