The St. Louis Blues loss to the Nashville Predators in Nashville showed us many things. One of them was that this team doesn’t have the makeup to win when it comes to crunch time.
Normally after bad losses for the St. Louis Blues, I say move on and look to the next. Today I’m allowing myself and anyone else the opportunity to overreact.
The Blues loss to Nashville proved a couple things. First, Nashville has the better roster top to bottom.
The funny thing is that when you look at their roster, there are not a ton of names you’d line up with the Blues names and absolutely take their guy over ours. Filip Forsberg is one and if you remove all the extracurricular stuff, PK Subban is another. Blues fans will want Pekka Rinne, but that love affair would not last long. Just a year or two ago Predator fans were ready to run him out of town, proving the dislike of goaltenders is not just in St. Louis.
The difference becomes how they are constructed. Each guy seems to have a well defined role and they fit together like a puzzle.
At the moment, the Blues have some talented pieces, but they are not fitting together. The border of the puzzle has been put together, but the middle is all just sitting together with random pieces on top of the other.
The prime example of that is the constant need to juggle lines. This is not the same as Ken Hitchcock changing lines for the sake of it. Mike Yeo and the Blues keep changing their lines because they are hoping to find that combination that works.
Certain guys fit better with others, but at the moment they don’t fit where they are being played. If you strip away our love for a name or a person, the Blues probably have six or more guys that should be third line players if this was a championship team. Sure, guys can play up and down the lineup as needed, but title winning teams know where guys will line up 60-75% of the time.
The other big thing we learned from the game should not come as a surprise, though many of us positive thinkers may have denied it longer than others. Basically, it showed that the Blues are not one piece away. There are just too many issues, front to back, to think one man will make the difference.
From the time a season starts until the end, social media is usually inundated with calls for the Blues to trade for a goalie. That is about as ridiculous an idea as there is.
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One of my main points discussing why you stick with Jake Allen was that homegrown talents win titles. Only five goaltenders of the last 25 Cup winners were traded or free agents. Guys that can win championships are simply not allowed to leave or feel the pressure too much.
So, what is the point of acquiring a Carey Price? Fans would turn on him as quickly as they did Ryan Miller. Then, he’d be unhappy in St. Louis while having an ungodly contract that would prevent the team from signing other pieces. Minus the contract, the same is true of any goaltender. Fans are now so hungry for a title, they’ll eat any goalie that comes in with expectations alive. No, we are not Philadelphia or New York or LA, but players feel these things nevertheless.
Springboarding off that, I’d argue what the point is in bringing in any high-profile player right now. Say they go out and get Rick Nash or Evander Kane or insert any name you like. Having extra scoring will definitely help, but it does not solve the Blues failure to defend at key times.
The Blues might not have Norris Trophy defenders, but they have guys that are good enough to get the job done. For whatever reason they lose focus and their legs seem to go faster than they should. That makes them flat-footed and, no offense, dim witted at times. These are smart guys with plenty of experience, but they do not look like it right now.
So, with that in mind, would a splashy trade for a front-line defender help? It would not hurt, but again, this problem is team wide. Even if you bring in a guy that’s a left handed shot to pair with Alex Pietrangelo that is also a power play specialist, are they really going to solve all of this team’s issues?
The answer is no. St. Louis has to get better top to bottom, front to back.
You can make a big, splashy trade right now, but it would be a flashy band-aid on a gaping wound. Would it help you for the future? It is possible, yes, but a lot of the names – Price in particular – would make it hard to sign other pieces. The Blues cannot just add a goaltender or one scorer and figure they are set for the next three years.
That’s why we should all be completely against any of these players that would require draft picks and prospects. Nash and Kane’s teams are rumored to be wanting players, prospects AND picks. You cannot mortgage your future like that when the Blues seem to have some very solid players in the wings.
Counterarguments would say you take the known of an NHL guy over the unknown of a prospect. You never know how trades affect someone though. For every Shattenkirk or Schenn, we’ve had a Stewart or Miller that just did not work out regardless of talent.
It is not what people want to hear, but this team has to stick to the process and keep building. They have enough young talent coming through that they need to keep and mold.
You can let Paul Stastny walk in the summer or sign him to a lesser deal and use that money in free agency. You can make a lesser deadline deal that only costs a lower round pick or a player we’d be ok without and improve your team for the longer haul.
The bottom line is the Blues are not good enough to make that splash deal and have it actually work. They are good enough to compete with any team on any given night, so there is no need to blow anything up as everyone wants to after a playoff loss. They are not good enough to win it all and one player will not change that this season.