The Blues have sent their last top draft pick from 2007 off to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ian Cole has been dealt for Robert Bortuzzo and a 2016 7th round draft pick. The addition of Zybnek Michalek filled a defensive role in the line-up, as he will either be paired with Barret Jackman for a straight shut-down pairing or he can be paired up to create a puck moving/defensive defense combination. However, he’s been sidelined for a few weeks with a concussion.
The addition of Michalek means that the Blues will have Ian Cole, Chris Butler, and Petteri Lindbohm all vying for the last defensive spot. Lindbohm has been a pleasant surprise. Butler exists. Cole, who has played well this year, still has been unable to gain a for-sure spot in the daily lineup. Butler has played significantly fewer games than Cole (29 to 56), but has comparable stats when you break things down by games played. What neither guy has is the ability to be mean, and Bortuzzo has that in spades.
The Blues have missed Roman Polak’s aggressiveness. Bortuzzo has that, and that’s about it. He has 68 penalty minutes, good for second most on the Penguins, and surely will be a pain in the ass for opponents to play against. The puck moving and skill that the Blues have isn’t translating to improved defense, so apparently the Blues decided to get someone who can clear the crease. He won’t be a regular in the line-up, but if the Blues are playing someone rough around the edges he can help.
Right now the Blues are jammed on defense. Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Pietrangelo, Chris Butler, Carl Gunnarsson, Kevin Shattenkirk, Barret Jackman, Lindbohm, Bortuzzo, and Michalek are all right there. Will all of them make it through the day?