It's always fun to check Twitter first thing and see tweets like this:
yah the broons shud get alexandah steen cuz he's a swede and carls ah swede and loui is a swede and we can call them the ikea line— Abominable SnowPez (@PezDOY) December 18, 2014
The NHL's Christmas trade freeze begins midnight, December 19th, so it's expected a few teams will make a move to shake things up. The underperforming Bruins are one of the prime candidates for doing so. They're 16-13-3 so far this season and are sitting just outside of the playoff cut line. No one on the team has cracked 10 goals - Brad Marchand is close with eight on the season. Only two players, Patrice Bergeron (22) and Carl Soderberg (21) have more than 20 points. It's understandable that the fans, media, and front office want a trade to spark improvement.
Naturally, Bruins fans would gravitate toward two of the Blues' top guys who are both not offensive juggernauts this season, Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie, both of which are trade bait inside media circles despite Darren Dreger's report that Doug Armstrong is happy with the team as it is. Elliotte Friedman has bandied about their names, and last week Joe Haggerty espoused their virtues. Today, apparently, a local sports radio station finally picked up Haggerty's article, leading to tons of Twitter speculation and drooling over the Blues' forwards.
Based on their careers, both Oshie and Steen are marketable, especially to a team like Boston who would like some scoring depth. This season, so far, all that Steen and Oshie do are fit right into the Bruins. Steen has eight goals and 12 assists; Oshie has five goals and seven assists. Their reputation precedes them, however, so a team can't be faulted for overlooking their current stats and hoping for a little bit more. Don't forget, Oshie still has cachet thanks to a situation that would never happen in an NHL game.
Here's what Haggerty said about Oshie:
T.J. Oshie: The 27-year-old isn’t the biggest guy in the world, but he plays bigger than his 5-foot-11, 189-pound frame would suggest as some B’s fans might remember when he concussed David Krejci with a massive hit in the neutral zone a few years back. Oshie is coming off his best NHL season with 21 goals and 60 points, and is something of a household hockey name after last year’s Olympic performance in the shootout. He could help the Bruins in a shootout area where they’ve struggled since trading away Tyler Seguin. He’s also a right shot and is signed for the next few seasons at just over a $4 million cap hit, and would fit the profile of what Boston is looking for. Peter Chiarelli has been at a couple of Blues games scouting recently, and clearly has an interest on players on the St. Louis roster. The Blues are just under the cap, and have big contracts coming next season with both Vladimir Tarasenko and Jake Allen set to hit restricted free agency.
That's an accurate assessment of Oshie, but it's a more accurate assessment of the cap space situation for next year. In further adventures of signing a player based off of one year's performance, here's Haggerty on Steen:
Some have speculated that Steen might be the trade target given that he was scratched for a Saturday game vs. the Islanders, but I’m not sure he fits the profile of what the Bruins are looking for. He’s a solid two-way player, but he’s also a left shot, left wing when the Bruins are looking for a right-handed shot on the right side. He’s also signed for a touch under $6 million ($5.8 million) for the next couple of seasons beyond the current one, and that’s a lot of dough for a 30-year-old player that will be hard-pressed to again match the 33 goals and 62 points he put up in a career year last season.
Again, accurate and pragmatic. Based on both analyses, you can jump to the conclusion that the Bruins may be more interested in Oshie than Steen. If Oshie is on the trade block, that's fine. But if the buyer's Boston, what do the Blues get back? Milan Lucic? Lucic has six goals and nine assists on the year so far. David Krejci? Three goals and seven assists. Loui Eriksson? Six goals and eleven assists.
This would be a trade made based on past records, not current performance. This would be a trade made to shake up the Bruins' locker room and add some spark to their line-up. Remember Doug Armstrong's "5 percent better" statement regarding Ryan Miller? Apply that to any of the Bruins players rumored to be trade candidates. Are they even five percent better than Oshie or Steen? Eriksson's goal production diminished significantly when he was traded to the Bruins. Is there a chance that he gets that back with the Blues? Possibly, but would the team be better off by taking that risk?
If Oshie, Steen, or for that matter Patrik Berglund are available for trade, they should go somewhere that would send the Blues a tangible upgrade to make Paul Stastny's weak season better. Could the careers of some young Oilers be saved with a trade to St. Louis?
It's easy for Blues fans to see rumors and speculation coming from other teams' fans and beat writers and think that something's going down. Whatever happens is going to happen, but it should be something that benefits both teams. I personally feel that a trade with the Bruins is a lateral move at best, and one that does not get the Blues over that dreaded playoff hump.