This is perhaps an odd thought to offer up to the coaching staff of the St. Louis Blues. We are making all kinds of assessments about the needs of the club and we are hearing in response from the tight lipped GM that we have all of the tools already on the ice. I am going to have to agree with the GM on this one. The Blues fan in me wants to make two trades, one for Mike Richards (just because he is under-performing) and the other for Jeff Carter (because he is under-performing on a really bad team). Both of those guys know each other and play well together and are probably really pissed about the decision their former team made to move them away for Bryz. This being said, they are both really expensive and we would probably give up quite a bit to get them. I like our current players, our system players (though I still wish we had a little more in the way of depth and I know that isn't a popular opinion). So here goes my ass backwards way of fixing the little problem of who to trade and who to play (based on the hope that everyone is magically healthy before the end of the year).
All of my magical plans are focused on three people. Magical plans based on Kirk Shattner, Kent Huskins, and BJ Cromby. In a perfect world, BJ Crombeen retires at his young age to become Charlie Conway and be some kind of bench consultant. I love the guy's personality, but I cringe whenever I notice him on the ice, which is not often. That to me is a waste of a forward position. I offer you the return of Kent Huskins as the solution to all of the Blues problems. I propose that Huskins return would complete the defensive needs of the Blues. All the articles are saying that we would potentially need a veteran stay at home d-man. I think Huskins fits that role and would give us three stay at homes and three offensively minded d-men, four if you count Shattner. There in lies the problem. What do you do with one of those guys. Coli and Jax are probably the most popular guys that we would offer out in a trade. I don't like that at all. I say we pair up like this, even if just for one game to test my theory. Pietro-Huskins, Russel-Polak, Coli-Jax. Where is Shattner in that equation?
He is on the wing taking over for Cromby. Shattner has the offensive presence of mind on the board play, much like that of Sobotka and Perron, but unlike those guys, is supposed to report back to the blueline and not move towards the net unless he is covered by one of our forwards. I would like to see what he is able to do in the offensive zone while allowed to be offensive minded. He can pass better than most of our other players and knows how to come back and cover defensively. Its like all of the sudden you have three d-men and three forwards on the ice. It opens up space to give the coaching staff the kind of D platoon they want and gives us an extra forward to get rid of our 4th line issues and gives us a spot on the 4th line to put our under-performing guys to shame them into playing better as is the custom in the NHL.
So basically this is the lineup I would love to see on the ice. I will show you two, the ideal and the currently realistic.
Forward Lines (Ideal) Forward Lines (Realistic with current injuries)
Perron-Andy Mac-Backes Perron-Oshie-Backes
Insert Nichol-Reaves-Porter as needed Insert-Cromby if absolutely necessary.
Defensive Lines (Ideal) Defensive Lines (Realistic + Huskins)
Insert Cole if needed.
This is what I would like to see for a game or two. I could be really wrong, but I would like to see how Shattner reacts to being unleashed as a playmaker/actual shooter.