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Survivor UFA: Don't Release the Cracknell??

Versatile Forward Needs to Be Given Chance to Prove Himself in NHL.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's Note: The Blues have quite a few UFAs whose futures need close examination. This is an ongoing pro/con debate on the fates of each of them.

As we continue to debate who should stay and who should go we land on Adam Cracknell, a player who has yet to be tested at the top level but thrives in the minors. You may ask yourself, why would the Blues even bother looking at a player who has played the equivalent of one full season over the past 5 years? I mean he has 11 points in those 82 games, over five years. But you need to delve a little deeper to see why he hasn't been consistent at the major level.

Over the course of his career, Adam has played in more then 9 games straight once in his NHL career. Its pretty difficult to find a rhythm when your in and out of a lineup and only playing on the fourth line with limited minutes. Even with that being the case he proved his value in the playoffs two years ago when he was part of the CPR line that was by far the best line against Chicago that postseason. Give him that time to develop and find his rhythm and his numbers could fall more in line of the ones he put up in the AHL.

With Peoria and now Chicago Adam has shown what he could bring to an NHL lineup. In 286 games, he has recorded 75 goals and 95 assists while sporting an impressive +36 rating playing for some very good teams and against some very stiff competition. When you look at the salary constraints of the Blues and realize that this team may need to go very young for the next few years, a guy like Cracknell who doesn't command much salary, can thrive with players he has played with the last few years.

The familiarity he has with players like Dmitrij Jaskin, Ty Rattie, Magnus Paajarvi and Robby Fabbri will only benefit the Blues instead of having to go out and find a player who makes the same amount of money and won't know the tendencies of those players. Spending $600,000 on a guy who can be the lynch pin between your youth and your veterans is a small price to pay when he could potentially put up 15-20 goals a year on the third or fourth line and teach the youth what its like to play in the big leagues.

I know that there aren't strong numbers to support keeping him, there isn't even a strong argument for his potential but just feeling the energy and steadiness he brought to his line in the PLAYOFFS makes me want him to stay. He has a good salary that would fit and has the respect of his teammates. I just don't see how you can pass on that if you are at the cap and have to choose between a known commodity and a fading fringe player. Its not a strong argument but its an argument worth having.