I can't remember seeing too many Berglund jerseys around Scottrade whenever I am there for a St. Louis Blues game. He isn't a fan favorite. Between his goofy on ice mishaps and what many believe to be an overly gracious contract, fans seem to be down on him most of the time. However, he must be doing something right when he is on the ice. Last season he saw roughly 12 minutes a night. Berglund brought home a 55% corsi for and was 5th amongst forwards in goals scored at 5v5. All while seeing more defensive zone starts than offensive zone starts. Complain all you want, but he is a valuable member to this Blues' team.
It was announced in late August that Berglund was going to have shoulder surgery and be out for several months. The timing couldn't have been worse. Or the timing was great depending on your point of view. Berglund detractors saw this as a perfect opportunity to see the team without Berglund and with possibly younger talent being brought up from the Wolves. Of course Gomez was given a PTO and made the team as a possible replacement for Berglund. With Lehtera being out at the same time as Berglund, that also gave Fabbri a chance to make his case (and we all know how fabulous that has been for the team -- that goal last night was sick).
But now Berglund is returning soon and that begs the question, who is going to stay and who is going to go once Berglund is back in the line up. So I asked our St. Louis Game Time writers to answer two questions:
- Who do you think should be moved when Berglund returns?
- Who do you think the Blues will move when Berglund returns?
- Scott Gomez. The center had a few great moments early but sits in a suite these days checking his phone. He is on a one way contract of 575,000 but I don't think the salary will matter. He played on December 4th and 5th but hasn't since. If Berglund takes his spot, a player like Scottie Upshall could be a healthy scratch when Berglund plays. I feel like Gomez is a guy who can play down in Chicago and stay ready.
- Robby Fabbri. Ken Hitchcock will say the 19 year old center can get a healthy dose of playing time down with the Wolves until a spot opens up. Fabbri has put together some good games, but knowing Hitch, he will keep the veterans on stand by and send the kid down. Fabbri is on a two way contract.
Upshall and Brodziak have been filling a 4th line role that Berglund isn't suited for.
What I think SHOULD happen is Gomez should get back in the fucking game alongside Fabbri since they have an obvious chemistry and Berglund should get some prime ice time to build trade value so he can be packaged with Gunny and shipped off.
Tank - Lehtera - Umlat.
Steen - Stastny - Berglund
Backes - Gomez - Fabbri
Upshall - Brodziak - Reaves - Jaskin - Brouwer on rotation.
I know, Jaskin shouldn't be on the 4th line...neither should Brouwer...
But neither of them are showing much. Umlat is playing well with Tank. Berglund needs to get out there and see what he has. Gomez makes Fabbri a better player. Once Schwartz gets back Gomez is in the press box for good. Either Brouwer or Umlat are going to have to go once Schwartz gets back, and Umlat is cheaper and I like his speed. I say we look to dish Brouwer and either Berglund or Jaskin, performance and relative value depending.
Berglund coming back creates a serious conundrum, doesn't it? I'm pretty sure that Gomez gets waived and no one claims him. He hasn't had a point in over a month and has only played in 18 games this year. Between him and Upshall, Upshall seems to be the PTO who has the best chance of staying put. The bad thing is, this creates a situation where Jaskin's playing time is limited. He hasn't been as productive as expected this year, and I'm sure some of that has to do with linemates and usage and whatnot, but if choosing between him and Berglund, I'm pretty sure that the pick is Bergie considering how well he drives puck possession.
Perhaps Jaskin might be the latest youthful member of the Blues to be dealt at the trade deadline, though getting a position player back would just add to a logjam since Schwartz should be back before then as well.
Jaskin will probably be the sacrificial lamb here, with Paajarvi a close second just because he always seems to walk a line with Hitch. He's out of the doghouse and is playing better, but I still don't think that's a reason for him to get comfortable.
- The answer would've been Steve Ott mere weeks ago before his injury, because whenever I wonder who SHOULD move, he is always my answer. Since that's out, Ryan Reaves is my pick. He never produced much anyway, but now that he's a revered fighter that no one will fight, his almost total lack of production makes him basically dead weight on the roster. Too bad he's under contract for a couple more years beyond this one, for some reason, although somewhat reasonably at a $1.125MM cap hit.
- I have a sense that Berglund himself will move eventually, perhaps around the time Schwartz draws back into the lineup. Much was made of Berglund's NTC that kicked in this year, but it's very limited to the point that a deal should be able to be done. What you get for him, of course, depends on how well he plays in the interim. As for the short-term, knowing the modus operandi of this franchise, it will be a player that doesn't deserve the move. It'll probably be Paajarvi. He was ambitiously (and wrongly) promoted to the top line for about a week but fills a role now that can be filled by Berglund when he returns. That's just shit luck on Umlaut's part.
- I agree with King Donut that Ott should be moved, but we all know that isn't going to happen. So taking him out of the mix, I see no problem waiving Gomez.
- Hitchcock has never liked Paajarvi and with the way Magnus has been playing it might make him attractive trade bait for another Hitchcock veteran. If it doesn't happen this way, I will eat my hat.