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.
After looking at a few defensemen candidates to stick around, its now time to switch back to the forward discussion. Up next on our list is Marcel Goc, who the Blues acquired mid way thru the the season for Max Lapierre. At the time it seemed like a throw away trade, moving a agitator for a more disciplined 4th liner who could help in the face off circle. As the season wore on, Goc's importance increased as he brought an energy to the 4th line that supplemented his line-mates and boosted the fourth line to one of the lines most hated to play against.
Marcel is not the player he was back in his San Jose days when he helped knock out the Blues in his first playoff game, but he is definitely an important piece to keeping this Blues team winning all aspect s of the game. The place Goc helps the most is in the face off circle and that has been his strength throughout his career.
In his career, Goc has a 52.5% face win percentage but that's not the most telling stat, its the fact that he wins over 50% of his face-offs on the road as well. In away games this season, Goc posted a 50.7 win percentage and in his career he sits at 51%. He also wins face-offs well in wins and in losses, this year alone he was 55.6% in wins and 52.4% in losses. It just goes to show that Goc is not the reason why the Blues lose, in fact he is one of the reasons his team can stay in games frequently.
Goc also gets better when it counts to; in March and April, when teams are fighting for a playoff spot and are in the playoffs, his win percentage is 53.7% and 54.6% respectively. He just knows when to turn it up when he has too.
The Blues should re-sign Goc in order to give themselves the best opportunity to put the best team on the ice. If Goc is back, the Blues four lines would have centers who all ranked in the top 15 in face off wins last season and placed the team number two behind Boston in face off wins during the season. Give your team a better then 50% chance to win face offs in all zones? Uh yeah, that leads to more scoring chances in the offensive zone, quicker clears in the defensive zone and much higher puck possession duh.
Goc is not going to score a ton of goals but his face off prowess leads to more goals and better chances for the whole team. Plus, even at 31 years old he still had the jump and energy of a player much younger, the fourth line seemed to jump when he was out there with Ryan Reaves and Chris Porter.
People will point out that his salary last year was $1.2 million but that was because he signed with the Penguins and we all know how they like to throw money around at players who shouldn't make that much i.e. Zbynek Michalek. But bringing him back at around $1 million would be the perfect number for a guy who could continue to make your fourth line one of the toughest to play against and make opposing coaches think twice about putting their bottom feeders against them.