Letter To St. Louis Blues Fans: Stop Worrying About Ex-Players

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

When I finally had the opportunity to visit a movie theater recently, they showed a trailer for a film called Reminiscence. It had a line that stuck with me, saying “There is nothing more addictive than the past.” This applies to all sports fans, but particularly St. Louis Blues fans.

One thing that has reached a worrying level is the amount of social media posts judging the Blues based on the performances of players who are no longer here. This has always existed, but you weren’t confronted by it as much when it was limited to small social circles or sports bar discussion.

Now, with social media, everyone and their sibling feels they know so much better than the general manager. A player that might have made a small impact on a championship team is suddenly considered an integral part to a franchise just because they are still playing and the team in St. Louis is not.

The example that finally got under my skin was a tweet that simply said Joel Edmundson and Alex Pietrangelo are still playing while Torey Krug and Justin Faulk are sitting at home. That is such an oversimplification that it makes your head spin.

It’s not as though that’s an inaccurate statement, but we all know the meaning behind it. The insinuation is that the Blues would have been better off keeping Pietrangelo and Edmundson.

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There’s an argument to be made about Pietrangelo. Krug offers you offensive upside, but Pietrangelo is probably a better overall player and also a bigger body.

The reason he is not here is because he wanted to get paid. Nobody should be upset about that, but the same amount of fans that were begging the Blues to sign Petro would have been upset when that $8.8 million contract kept them from doing anything in free agency in the coming years.

No offense, but there’s no argument to be had about Edmundson over Faulk. Faulk had a rough first year with the Blues and some fans will never let go of that disappointment that he failed to light the world on fire from the moment he set foot on Enterprise Center ice.

However, we saw how good a player Faulk can be in 2020-21. Nobody is denying that Edmundson is a quality player and plays with an edge, but he doesn’t make the Blues better simply because he plays with a style that fans like.

Edmundson makes quite a few mistakes. He set a personal record for turnovers with the Montreal Canadiens, despite only playing in 55 games.

Similar notions are brought up about former Blues like Ryan Reaves, Pat Maroon and Jake Allen. While we all like those players, to varying degrees, the truth is no individual from that group would have made the difference against the Colorado Avalanche in the 2021 playoffs.

I actually believe that swapping all the current Blues for the ones so many are drooling over would not have affected the outcome either. Perhaps the Blues make it a better series, but they still don’t win.

Everyone fell in love with heavy hockey and being big and hitting hard because it served the Blues well and won them the 2019 Stanley Cup. However, scoring was the Blues problem.

Pietrangelo is an offensive player, but he’s not going to account for goals night after night. Maroon is not a goal scorer.

He will provide a big-moment goal, but he’s not going to consistently light the lamp. The same is true of Reaves.

If you’re hoping Edmundson is providing offense, you’re really hurting. While I was a long time president of the fictional Jake the Snake fan club, Jordan Binnington was the only reason some of the losses to the Avs were respectable.

The Blues need goals, not just grit. That’s not to say they need to abandon their style and look only for scorers, but bringing back or keeping familiar faces, just because you like them isn’t an answer either.

The Blues won with defense in 2019, but they also scored almost three goals per game on average. While four games is a small sample size, the Blues scored 1.75 goals per game in the 2021 playoffs.

The offense was slightly better in 2020, when they had 2.44 goals per game in the playoffs. That series could be blamed on poor goaltending and a lack of physicality.

That’s not the case in 2021. Hit the Avalanche all you want or have bigger bodies to clear the net, but even if you prevent a few more goals, scoring under two goals per game will not win you games nor a series.

This is not to say anybody shouldn’t root for those players. If you’re cheering for Vegas now because of Reaves and/or Pietrangelo, so be it. The same is true for Maroon or Edmundson and Allen.

Now that the Blues have their Cup, it doesn’t sting as much when former players go elsewhere and get one. However, none of those players are the main reason their team is where it is.

Pietrangelo scored a big goal in the elimination game against Colorado, but he also made several critical turnovers that cost Vegas games in the Minnesota series. Edmundson plays the style the Blues do, but he also gives the puck away quite a bit.

Allen had some big wins for Montreal in the regular season and gave the team what they needed, which was a more rested Carey Price. Still, the Snake has not played since May 10 and has not seen a minute of action in the playoffs.

Maroon continues to be a chatty thorn in everyone’s side, but even if he wins his third Cup in three years, that’s coincidence. Maroon provided something the Lightning needed, but take him away and they likely still get to this year’s semifinal and if you put him on the Blues, they still get swept or maybe win a game.

Too often people see what they want to see. If you go looking for only the positives for everyone that’s left the Blues, more often than not, you’ll find it.

Robby Fabbri gets traded, immediately scores a goal and the Blues front office should be ashamed for trading him. Never mind the fact that he had not earned a spot on the team and needed a fresh start.

As mentioned, the big focus was on Petro scoring a big goal against the Avs. Forget all those turnovers and how he got turned inside out by the Avs top line during the regular season and the first couple games of their playoff series.

We love Reaves and Edmundson for what they did in St. Louis and rightfully so. We all just kind of ignore the few cheap shots Edmundson has taken and there was almost no mention of Reaves literally kneeling on an opponent’s head in Colorado.

If you want to follow the careers of those that leave, go right ahead. Root for them, cheer for them and be happy with their success.

Next. Blues prospect Keean Washkurak may have fast tracked himself. dark

Do not make the mistake of thinking things would automatically be better if they still wore the Note. We can have discussions about the worthiness of trades or the validity of why those players are gone, but their presence would not have cured what went wrong in 2021.