St. Louis Blues fans are faced with the reality that they no longer have the only franchise to make the Stanley Cup Final in their first year. However, that’s not the reality that fans actually need to face.
As human beings, we tend to gravitate toward certain people or personalities in our lives. The same is true for St. Louis Blues fans as we all have our favorites that put on the sweater.
Through thick or thin, we root for these guys and become attached. Even when those players move on via free agency or sometimes a trade, we continue to follow their careers with interest.
This is not a bad thing and we all do it. I have yet to meet a person that immediately stopped liking every person that ever left the Blues as soon as they put on a different sweater.
The problem with this becomes when fans delude themselves over how good a player was or how much of an impact they could have had. We are entering dangerous territory right now with certain players whose departures are still fresh wounds.
The names that are making the biggest ripples right now are David Backes, David Perron and Ryan Reaves. They were all important members of the Blues franchise, but some segments of the fan base are overvaluing them to a sickening degree.
More from Editorials
- St. Louis Blues Need Kasperi Kapanen To Be On Best Behavior
- Hayes’ Debut And Other Bold Predictions for the St. Louis Blues
- St. Louis Blues Captaincy Is Suddenly A Huge Problem For 2023-24
- St. Louis Blues National Games Cause More Problems Than They’re Worth
- St. Louis Blues Brayden Schenn Has To Be An Impact Player In 2023-24
You could also make a case that Paul Stastny could have been lumped into that group. However, most fans were more upset with the idea of the Blues selling as opposed to actually sending Stastny away. Anyway, back to the main point.
First thing, let it not be said that I dislike any of these guys. I loved the friendship that Reaves and Vladimir Tarasenko formed. I loved the smooth skating and sick mitts of Perron. Backes’ toughness and tenacity was a tribute to the old school way of doing things. They were all great ambassadors for the Note and even better people.
All of that said, Blues fans need to get over it. If you like these players as individuals and want their continued success, fine. I have no issue with that whatsoever.
We have to stop deluding ourselves into thinking the Blues would be much different today if any of those guys were still on the team.
The last time Reaves was together with Perron, Backes and Oshie was 2012-13. The Blues finished second in the division and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
St. Louis had little to no drop off in overall team play with any of their departures. The one difference was Reaves, but anyone who thinks his disappearance made the difference is part of this issue.
You could argue that Backes’ departure left a leadership hole that St. Louis has not filled. No sensible person should think that Reaves made the difference between the Blues making or missing the playoffs.
Sure, it would have been nice to have him. He would have stuck up for teammates. But even under Mike Yeo, Reaves would have been a scratch some nights and only played around seven minutes other nights. That is just not enough time to make a true impact. The fact that he scored the goal to send Vegas to the final is mere happenstance.
These players had their chance with the Blues. They had their chance in St. Louis together and none of them got it done.
Backes was a great person in the community and said the right things to the media. Year after year we heard him correctly identify the team’s problems but nothing ever changed. That’s not great leadhership.
Perron was a skilled player and a decent scorer. He never put up the kind of numbers with the Blues that he did in Vegas. He was not going to because he had a coach that preached defensive responsibility. In Vegas the philosophy was offense is the best defense.
Reaves is just Reaves. He is a fantastic locker room guy, but there are people literally saying how much the Blues would have been better with him.
He tried his best to lead in 2016-17. Nobody wanted to listen to him and only the coaching change saved the season. It’s great to be vocal, but star players will only listen to a fourth-line grinder so much.
Again, it’s great if you like these players and even wish some were still on the Blues. To think they are or were the missing pieces is folly though.
Not one of those players or any combination of them would have made the difference between the Blues actual outcome and anything better. The most that would have happened was to make the playoffs and still be eliminated. This was just not the team to win it.
Root for whomever you choose to. That’s all well and good. Let’s be realistic though and not paint a role player like Reaves as a savior.