Oshie's Return Won't Guarantee Playoff Spot

T.J. Oshie is returning. All hail the mayor!

 

Let just about every fan of the Blues, I found the footage of Oshie skating and the news that he's traveling with the team to be great news. Oshie is a dynamic, exciting player when healthy. His return means less ice time for guys like Chris Porter and Cam Janssen.

When Oshie does return, and it's looking like it's going to happen sooner rather than later, he will immediately make the Blues a better team. He is, however, not the savior.

Right now, the Blues are mired in the bottom half of the Western Conference playoff picture. The fourth to 12th spots in the West are separated by just five points. Five freaking points. The Blues are right in the thick of things with 46 points, good for seventh overall.

When Andy McDonald went down in the Oilers' game and basically putting an entire line on IR, the common thought was that if the Blues can stay in the playoff race through the injures, it will be smooth sailing when everyone gets back.

David Perron and McDonald are both still in the land of the concussed. Unlike other teams, looking at you Pittsburgh, the Blues are playing it safe with concussions. Therefore, Oshie and his ankle—which sources say was broken "pretty fucking bad"—is the first of the forwards to return.

The pressure is going to be on Oshie, and his ankle, to lift the Blues up and seal the playoff spot. If only it were that easy.

Teej was having a nice year before he got hurt, but some fans act like he was lighting the world on fire. Sure, 10 points in 13 games is rock solid. That's a 60-point season for young Osh, which would have been a career high. However, he had just one goal in his ten points.

Oshie, of course, does much more than score. He's a great two-way player, a future Selke winner, an a ball of energy who fires up the home crowd more than any other Blue, including No. 55, Cam Janssen.

If the Blues fail to make the playoffs, it will be because of a lack of offense. Jaroslav Halak is rock-solid in net and when the top-6 d-men are healthy, the Blues are one of the best defensive teams in hockey. What the Blues need is goals.

Getting Oshie back won't change that. In his career, Oshie has 33 goals in 146 games. Having him back helps, but again, he won't be the savior.

My point, and yes I have one, is that the Blues players have done their part thus far. They have stayed in the playoff hunt. Now, it's time for the front office to make a move. Address the goal scoring woes. Don't give us fans the same old line that getting Oshie back is like making a trade. It's not. Again, Osh will help, but unless his new ankle has turned him into Sidney Crosby, he's not going to prove the necessary offense needed to make a run at the playoffs.

Back when I had more free time and was writing at SBNSTL, I wrote that the Blues shouldn't make a panic move with all the injuries. I still agree with that. Don't get fleeced with a move, but if this team is serious about making the playoffs, something has to be done. How much longer can the Blues expect to rely on Brad Winchester and Eric Brewer getting goals?

As the season moves along, more and more teams are falling out of the race. Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto (Oh, Canada indeed) are all pretty bad this year. You can't tell me that after sucking since the lockout, the Blues don't have some redundant pieces around? I'm not talking about Jake Allen/Ben Bishop, but there's gotta be some kids in juniors or Peoria that won't help the Blues, but could help another team.

If the Blues want to make the playoffs, and judging by the season-ticket promo they do, it's time to add a little juice to the lineup. The team has made it this far with Chris Porter and Adam Cracknell.

Oshie's return should be the catalyst to make a move, not the only move the Blues make.

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