By Sean Gallagher
As is the case every summer, it's time to look at the list of available free agents and see which guys we hope the Note will lure here with big dollars and promises of doing "whatever it takes" to ensure a competetive environment for them to play in.
As is also the case every summer, it's time for Blues fans to start looking at former Blues and adding them to the wish list. Why? Because, silly, once a Blue, always a Blue. We love our sports heroes, even after they become Stars heroes, Kings heroes, hell, even after becoming Wings heroes.
This year seems to have an inordinant amount of former Blues whose contracts are up. But can any of these guys really help?
Doug Weight - Sure! Sign him if you want to hand out the award for Mr. Bitter really early this year. By all accounts, Weight is a class guy, but he clearly was not happy with the way he was forced to accept a trade out of town and him coming back on some sort of 'hometown discount' to play the role of grizzled leader on the fourth line probably isn't going to fix that.
Sorry, Dougie, but I think they've already decided on another guy to feature during the "Leadership" clip in the game-opening montage.
Dallas Drake - Speaking of grizzled old vets getting paid too much money to play on the fourth line, Dallas Drake is available after not really earning a paycheck in Detroit this year. Dally, we love ya, man, but....NEXT!
Patrick Lalime - I can't believe I haven't already screamed a virtual NEXT at this guy, but in case you haven't noticed, the man we love to call the Latrine put together a pretty good season as the back-up in Chicago. In case you haven't also noticed, the Blues kind of need a good back-up netminder that can be trusted to start 20-25 games and let Manny rest.
I wouldn't push for this on the argument of "he's a former Blue" because, frankly, his time as a Blue was forgettable at best. But as a back-up, he might just be a decent option. Plus, I still have a few of those foam Lalime Latrines we made up in 2005 and wouldn't mind unloading them.
Bret Hedican - Mr. Yamaguchi is available? More like Mr. Yummamucchi! OK, I realize that makes no sense. Likewise, it'd make no sense to bring back the swift-skating Hedican to flesh out a defensive group that already has too many veteran bodies clogging up the pipeline. Tell Kristi we said, "what up"(wink!), but we'll pass.
Craig Conroy - In a familiar refrain, Conroy's best seasons came after he was traded away from St. Louis, but he's always been a good guy in the community, a good teammate and a great interview (dude has no idea how to fill space with cliches, and basically can't stop talking). Unfortunately, the Conroy Days are over in St. Louis. He would serve no real purpose on a team that is getting younger and trying to make room on top spots for rookies like TJ Oshie and Patrik Berglund.
Curtis Joseph - Holy crap, CuJo is still in the NHL! And while we just got done saying that the Blues need a capable back-up, Joseph's pricetag would likely be heftier than guys of less name but equal talent. We still love old CuJo clips on YouTube and we love seeing those No. 31 jerseys at the games, but seriously, let's just let sleeping dogs lie. (See what I did there?)
Aaron Downey - If there was some need to drive down the cummulative IQ of the team, signing Downey would be a perfect fit. Considering that he's basically unfrozen caveman retard, I think I speak for anyone who cares about the Blues when I say, Go fuck yourself, Aaron Downey.
Marty Reasoner - Former first round pick from 1996 who was traded to Edmonton to acquire Doug Weight. He has developed into a solid third line center who can kill penalties and play a diluted form of shut-down hockey. Um, if the Blues didn't already have like 42 guys who fit that description on the roster already, we might have some interest. Pass.
Ladislav Nagy - Traded away as part of the Keith Tkachuk deal, Nagy has had some ups and downs in the intervening years, but lately it's mostly downs. I'd say sign him, but only if he splits his salary with Michal Handzus and Lubos Bartecko and makes it a 3-for-1 deal. Oh, Lubos! Where have you gone, Lubos?
And yes, that said "Bartecko Cam."
Pavol Demitra - Oh boy. This is the one that's actually going to get some legs, I bet. I was a big Demitra fan when he was wearing the Note, but friends, that was a long time ago. His propensity for bizarro injuries, the great year/mediocre year pattern of his career and the Blues' new committment to this youthful rebuilding all push me to say no. Let's leave our memories of Pavol as they were and not bring him in to underachieve for a team that really doen't need him right now.
That hurts to say, but Demitra should probably stay in Minnesota with his new boyfriend, Marian Gaborik.
Sean Hill - ....
Sorry for the delay, but I just threw up a little. This experiment failed so miserably the first time that many Blues fans probably have blocked out his time in St. Louis altogether. At the time, I was a big fan of the signing. Combined with Pronger and MacInnis on the blueline, Hill seemed like another big weapon for Joel Quenneville's offense and the type of player who would help push the team to the next level. Too bad Quenneville never figured out how to use Hill and Hill never figured out how to play in the Blues' system.
One disaster is enough. I'd sooner bring back fellow failed free agent blueliner Rich Pilon than have Hill back in Blue.
Bryce Salvador - Yet another guy who many fans will be clamoring to bring back into the fold, Salvador fits the profile for former Blues who get re-signed: connections to the community (St. Louisan wife, local business owner), good reputation with the fans, easy nickname to remember and he was a solid contributor to the team.
Fact of the matter is that Salvador, despite being fairly invisible in New Jersey's system, will be looking for too much money to sign. The Blues have several youngsters whose time to get up or go home is right now and filling up another slot on the blueline with an over-30 guy doesn't make any sense. Sal, it's been fun, but you're ganna have to let "Jam" run the business here in St. Louis by himself for a while.
Brendan Shanahan - Yet another popular pick with the fans, Shanny continues to be a solid player on any team, but this move should be vetoed just to spare him the onslaught of "Mrs. Janney" jokes that the writers and fans of St. Louis Game Time would rain down on him all year long.
Sorry, it's just too easy. And fun. And funny.
Ha ha! Adultery!
Cory Stillman - The man who was acquired for Craig Conroy had a solid if uneventful stay here in St. Louis. Of course, after he left Gateway City he won back-to-back Stanley Cups with Tampa and Carolina (of all places). If he was brought back and Conroy was brought back, when they looked at each other, would it be the same effect as if you put two mirrors face to face? What happens there, anyway?
Curtis Sanford - Remember when we said the Blues need a capable veteran back-up? Yeah, the important word there was 'capable.'
Jim Campbell - Soupy was definitely a fan favorite when he was here. But where is he now? Oh yeah, he's in Kirkwood most of the time. Or in his seats down in the 100 level.
I guess that wasn't that hard.
Oh, and the Blues would have to be nuts to re-sign the two-time 20 goal scorer. Let's let him keep coaching youth teams, that seems like a good fit.
And What About The Blues' Free Agents? - Petr Cajanek, Mike Johnson, Ryan Johnson, Matt Walker, Martin Rucinsky, Micki Dupont and Mike Glumac scored a combined 13 goals and were a combined minus-18 in 189 games.
No, and thank you, gentlemen. There's always Europe. Or the New York Rangers.
Guys We're Not Gonna Mention - If the Blues announce that they've brought back 'fan favorites' like Glen Metropolit, Freddie Brathwaite, John "AHL" Pohl, Kevin Dallman or Vladimir Orzsagh then we're going to show them what a Blue Revolution really looks like.