The St. Louis Blues made a slightly shocking move by trading away their number two center at the trade deadline. Regardless of how you feel, it will be an interesting move for the rest of this season.
When the 2018 NHL trade deadline approached, there were no names that were thought of as untouchable except Vladimir Tarasenko. Doug Armstrong said he had no intention to deal his prospects, but if the right deal came along, it would have been considered.
That said, there was no thought that Paul Stastny was on the chopping block. It is not as though any fan thought he was untouchable, but it just seemed unlikely the Blues would trade away their second best center.
That is what they did. That is what the team must deal with for the next two months.
The response from the team was what you would expect. They were upset. They were hurt. The Blues bled, figuratively, for their teammate.
“Yeah, it makes it very hard,” Alexander Steen said in the Post-Dispatch, getting a little choked up. “You know we’ve become really close. His family, my family — we live across the street from each other. That’s definitely the tough part of the business. The guy’s my best friend, and it’s tough.
Brayden Schenn shared Steen’s sentiment and shock.
"“Really one or two points out and move a guy that does a lot for us,” Schenn said early Monday afternoon. “I didn’t expect Stastny to be moved, but I guess with his contract expiring, them getting picks to be used elsewhere or to draft, you kind of just go from there and we’ll see what happens in the next hour here.”"
As we know now, nothing happened in the hour following that quote. The Blues stood pat as a minor seller instead of a buyer.
More from Analysis
- St. Louis Blues and Cardinals Similar In All The Wrong Ways
- St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 82 At Dallas
- St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 81 Vs Dallas
- St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 80 At Minnesota
- St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 79 Vs NY Rangers
I feel for those players. It cannot be a good feeling to lose someone close to you.
However, it is their fault – not just those two guys, but the entire team. If they had not played their worst hockey of the season right before the deadline, Stastny would likely still be here.
Of course, we’ll never know, but according to most sources, this deal came within a 24 hour window. The Blues were not actively looking to shop Stastny and he would have finished out the year with the Blues if they had not played so poorly.
Fans and Schenn can be mad at management all they want. They had better realize that this deadline deal would have gone better if players had performed. A lot of this is on them.
Beyond that, there was a lot of unnecessary negativity surrounding Stastny after his first season. Much of that was not his fault.
After a joyous homecoming that saw a semi-celebration thrown at Ballpark Village during his signing, things went downhill from there.
His final season in Colorado, he scored 25 goals and 60 points. By signing a contract worth $7 million a year, Blues fans expected those numbers.
His first season in St. Louis, he had 16 goals and 46 points. In four seasons, Stastny never scored more than 18 goals or 49 points – neither of which came in the same season.
Stastny’s numbers were never terrible. They were fitting of a second, or perhaps even third line center and the Blues were paying him to be a top center.
Personally, I do not hold the contract against him. It was what he was worth in the market at the time. You can say he was a disappointment, but for me that is based on his performance, not what he was worth when he was a free agent.
The sad thing, for me, is that it just never quite clicked for Stastny in his “home town”. He never found his groove offensively and when it seemed he was on the cusp of something, he would pick up an injury.
He was often vilified because of the contract he was offered as though anyone would have taken less. In the end, Stastny’s time in St. Louis will be remembered for disappointment even though he was part of one of the best teams in recent history.
In the end, he mirrored the team he grew up watching. Plenty of promise, but it just never quite reached the full potential.
I’d wish him well, but playing for a division rival, I can’t wish too much success for the Jets. If nothing else, he may never be surpassed as having the best Twitter handle in Blues history.