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What the Blues can learn from Hossa and the Pens

Let's take a short trip back in time to June 9th, 2009. Various Websites and Hockeybuzz.com Blogger Peter Tessier, break news of Dany Heatley asking to be traded out of Ottawa. While Ottawa brass has said that Heatley wouldn't be moved around the deadline, it appears now Dany wants out no matter what the Front Office wants.

Enter the St. Louis Blues. Where the front office has said they would like to pursue a scoring winger. Who has also said they see the time drawing near to add players now and trade some of the prospect pool.

Initially fans are for it, some are against it. I was for it, till I was able to give it more thought. I came to this conclusion while watching my second favorite team play, the Pittsburgh Penguins. My conclusion was that the Blues trading for Heatley amounted to the same as the Penguins trying to re-sign Marian Hossa last summer. At the time, Pens fans were upset with their rental hero not returning. Likely rightfully so. However, not signing Hossa has given the Pens more wiggle room in the check book to secure depth for the short and near terms.

How do Heatley and Hossa compare?
Both have over 100 point total seasons.
Both are big bodied forwards who can score 40+ goals in an season.
Both have deep playoff run experience, not much, but some.
Both are game changers, able to take a game over and lead a team to a win.
Both wanted or make over $7 million a year in Salary and are over $7mil in cap hits.

Why are the Blues like the Pens?
Both have a talented young core of players who will need to be re-signed soon.
Both have some financial issues. Blues in terms of money coming in and the Pens in terms of cap space.
Both teams have built through the draft and acted accordingly to develop players internally.

Here is a brief list of the moves that may not have been possible (now or later)  if the Pens kept Hossa.
Re-signing Brook Orpik
Signing Jordan Staal to his first big contract
Trading for Bill Guerin
Re-signing Guerin, Fedotenko, and Scuderi, Goligoski
Re-signing Kris Letang or Sergi Gonchar
Signing Luca Caputi or Eric Tangradi to their first big contracts.

Most of those players played major parts of the 2009 Cup Run and the two that didnt, will factor in in to longer term offensive winger depth. In short the Penguins forking $7mil + to Hossa loses them their shut down center who can score 25-30 goals, a veteran forward to help Sid and several key depth players.

What do the Blues have to lose to get Heatley?

2009 1st Rd. Pick
NHL level player
NHL ready prospect
- Something along those lines get him here. What about after that?
 Choosing between EJ and Colaiacovo in the 2010 off season.
David Perron potentially in a trade.
Ability to re-sign David Backes / Brad Boyes
Reduced money to offer core players like Oshie and Berglund
Reduced funds to add UFA/traded for player additions in later seasons

Is the cost in assets worth the gain in this case? Is adding a potential 100 point winger worth losing 3 young players now (prospect, NHL level player and the 1st rd pick) plus making it harder to re-sign needed depth players. Given the Blues current level of financial stability, it won't work. There are too many questions about money coming in to the team during economic downturn. With the cap likely shrinking, teams must have young players they can count on to offer cheap production. Adding Heately right now hampers that effort.

I am not saying the Blues will win the Cup because they didn't get Heatley because of the Pens situation. I am stating that the Pens made the better long term decision and still found short term filler. The Blues need to remain focused on the long term as the short term is starting to take care of itsself with the players we have. Could the Blues add to the mix, to help the short term. Sure, there are many capable players out there who can improve the blue line, provide scoring depth up front, and be a solid back up. Its up to the Pro Scouting Department to evaluate who is out there along with JD, Al, and Dave to figure out who will fit in a the right price. So far the Front Office has done a good job, I don't think there is a reason to not trust them yet.

So take a chapter from Ray Shero, JD and Larry. Entertain the thought, but secure who you already have first. Once that is done, then go looking for the key piece who can be around a while.

Please make sure that any content you post is appropriate to Game Time, which means that it pertains to hockey, the Blues, frosty adult beverages, or puppies.

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