Anyone who has read my articles long enough knows of my unashamed man-crush on Scott Stevens. Though I appreciate the skill and speed today’s defenders have, Stevens was the epitome of what I viewed an NHL defender as.
Stevens definitely doesn’t fit the mold of the guy who was not a superstar, since he was a five-time All-Star, three-time Stanley Cup winner (albeit with another team) and a Hall of Fame inductee. Still, he was in St. Louis so briefly that he barely registers as a member of the organization for many.
Stevens was that rare breed of player that could do it all. Of course, he was not as flashy or purely talented as someone like Bobby Orr, but we forget that Stevens was no slouch offensively.
With St. Louis, he had 49 points. With Washington, before coming to St. Louis, he regularly scored double-digit goal totals and had a then-career high of 72 points.
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It was not until Jacques Lemaire got ahold of him that he became almost solely focused on the defensive end. Once the New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup, there was a drastic decline in Stevens offensive production because the team had enough up front to where he did not need to contribute.
Stevens focused on defense. He focused on physicality, doling out some of the most bone crushing hits you’ll ever see.
Knowing what it does to guys now, I feel bad, but at the time I loved seeing him rock guys like Eric Lindros or Paul Kariya. They dared to cross his blue line with their head down and he made them pay.
Sadly, for me, he was only with St. Louis for one season. Though he wanted to stay and end his career here, the Blues became involved in the early-signing of Brendan Shanahan and the Devils went for blood after that.
St. Louis even tried to bring him back in 1994. I was heartbroken when it did not happen, because I did not understand the concept of offer sheets and New Jersey’s right to match an offer at the time.
My, what could have been. Just imagine a blue line with MacInnis and Stevens.
I might be in the minority, but in hindsight, I wish the Blues had never gone after Shanahan. St. Louis got a fan favorite from the deal and plenty of goals, but I’d swap him for Stevens never having left in a heartbeat.
Without Shanahan, the Blues never get Pronger, yada yada yada. I’d just have loved to see Stevens actually spend his entire career here.