The St. Louis Blues built up a nice cushion in the Central Division with their spectacular October. That lead has forced some division rivals to make some big moves to keep pace.
The St. Louis Blues had a nine point lead over the Nashville Predators in the Central Division at the end of October. Now, just five days into the month of November, the Predators have made a blockbuster deal.
The Predators have acquired Kyle Turris from the Ottawa Senators. That is not the only divisional team that was affected by the deal either.
The Colorado Avalanche finally rid themselves of the distraction that Matt Duchene (the situation, not the player) had become. Duchene will now ply his trade north of the border with the Senators.
In return, the Avalanche got Andrew Hammond, aka the Hamburgler, with prospects Samuel Girard and Vladislav Kamenev. They also got draft picks in the first, second and third rounds from the various partners in the trade.
It was a trade that really benefited all those involved, to varying degrees.
The Predators made themselves even deeper down the middle with a solid scoring center. The Senators doubled-down on this season by adding one of the top names available on anyone’s trade lists. The Avalanche got three good, young players and all the draft pick haul they were looking for.
Clearly, the Avalanche are worse off for the next season or two. Duchene has
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underperformed the last season or two, but he’s still a very good scorer and the Avs are not better off without him for this season.
That has to be disappointing for fans. They’ve been in rebuild mode for a few years already and now it’s a reset button again. Pair that with the Avs decent start to 2017-18 and you have a punch to the gut even if most knew they would not make the playoffs.
As far as the Predators go, Blues fans will likely do their normal overreacting. Social media will be aflame with fire Armstrong chants because championships are won on paper, after all.
Nobody should be saying the Predators have not improved themselves. They picked up a very solid player that can score and assist. They also have the deepest group of centers in the division now.
Turris is really no better than Brayden Schenn though. He has had higher career highs, but played more games and played on a team built more for offense. On average, he has not put up numbers that would indicate his arrival in Nasvhille has a bigger impact than Schenn has had in St. Louis.
I also harken back to the argument that the Predators should have been handed the Cup before last season even began when they picked up P.K. Subban. They did make the finals, but they sputtered throughout the regular season.
Hockey takes time to get team chemistry. The Predators have all the talent in the world and are sputtering out of the gate once again. Now they are asking their team to take on another new face. Meanwhile the Blues will just keep on keeping on, steady as she goes.
It is interesting how the Predators have begun. Their team was so good defensively in the 2017 playoffs, but have allowed the second most goals in the division to start 2017-18. Their offense has struggled as well as they are currently tied with the fewest goals scored in the Central.
Turris will help in the short term. He’s not going to fix their defensive issues though.
He’s the kind of player that will either make his $6 million a year salary be an steal or an albatross. The Blues know all about those kinds of contracts.
We will have to see how that plays out. For now, there is no question that the Predators have improved. They were reaching the point they had to improve or get lost in the shuffle though.
This trade does not really change things in the way the Blues look to do things against Nashville either. Turris only has three goals against St. Louis in his career, so it is not as though he owns the Blues.
Nashville will be better off overall, but Blues fans should take a breath. Championships are not won and lost on trades alone. If that was the case, the Blues would have several titles back when Ron Caron was the GM.
Also, the Blues no longer have to worry about Duchene as much, who averaged almost two points per game against St. Louis.
Overall, the Blues can only worry about themselves and taking each game as its own focus. They have prospered by doing that and continue to outperform what any of us predict.