St. Louis Blues Rumors Link Team To Players They Don’t Need

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 5: Patrik Berglund
ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 5: Patrik Berglund /

Free agency is supposed to be a fun time where fans can dream and debate. We are getting plenty of the latter though as the Blues are linked to some “interesting names”.

The St. Louis Blues have given us some fun times this offseason. There has been plenty to debate, but so far it’s all ended with the overall idea that Doug Armstrong is actually doing good things to improve the team – tangible things.

However, when it comes to free agency, the rumors are beginning to make one wonder what is going on again. The Blues are currently heavily linked with some very old names.

First things first, rumors are rumors. Even when they come from credible sources, at this point it is all talk. Trade talk is usually a little bit stronger because you can have multiple sources to confirm on. Free agency can be mostly bluster started by an agent to drive up an asking price.

That said, sometimes where there is smoke, there is fire. St. Louis is currently linked to both Joe Thornton and, more recently, Chris Neil.

Both are particularly unappetizing, personally. Neil, especially, makes zero sense.

Armstrong literally just got done saying there was no replacement for Ryan Reaves coming internally and he did not see anyone available externally. Bringing in someone like Neil, who basically plays the exact same game but is eight years older is just foolish.

Taking fandom out of it, the Reaves trade made sense. You got a first round pick that you turned into a highly touted prospect. You got a big-bodied, young centerman that Armstrong has already claimed will see time with the Blues in 2017-18.

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Turning around and looking for another enforcer just does not make sense. Add to that Neil making over $1 million last season and it makes even less sense. Unless you can convince him to take a serious paycut, you don’t waste that kind of money on someone that plays the exact same game but does not have the wheels the person you just traded has.

Speaking of not making sense, this constant rumor of the Blues dancing with Thornton makes me scratch my head as well. If you take the name Thornton out of the equation, there just does not seem to be enough to go after.

If you do go for Thornton, you need to decide early on what you expect. Do you expect high numbers compared to your team? Or do you expect true top-line numbers?

You will not get the last one from Thornton anymore. You might get the first idea.

Sadly, even a very diminished Thornton can still put up OK numbers. His 43 assists were his lowest in a full season since 2001-02.

43 assist is also more than any Blues player put up in 2016-17. In that regard, he would be an upgrade.

He’s just not a top-flight center anymore though. Blues history is fraught with guys they brought in toward the ends of their careers where they put up decent numbers, but nowhere near what we expected – see Paul Kariya.

How much can you honestly expect Jumbo Joe to put up this year anyway? He’s not an ageless wonder like Jaromir Jagr.

Yes, his assist numbers top what the Blues currently have, but what if there’s a dropoff? Are you going to give $5-plus million to someone that just had a 20 point drop from his previous season? What if there is a similar fall in numbers this year?

If you had told me the Blues could get Thornton five years ago, or even three, I’d have been on board. He’ll be 38 the day after free agency starts though. He’s logged plenty of miles on that big frame as well.

There’s no doubt the Blues could use a little of his nastiness. He got under Blues players’ skin during the Western Conference Finals. He continues to be under fans’ skin for that cheap shot he laid on David Perron years ago.

Both potential signings would just seem to fly in the face of everything the Blues have said they want to become. We are supposed to be seeing a faster, more dynamic team.

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Don’t spew that stuff anymore if you sign either a 38 year old, lumbering center or a 38 year old enforcer. Stop trying to copy other teams if you are not going to truly follow that blue print.

On twitter, it was eloquently put. If Thornton signs, we will cheer for the Blues and him, by proxy. That does not mean the majority are in favor of his inclusion. For once, this is a free agent rumor I’d rather the Blues stay away from.