Do the Blues have a fever and crave more Dustin Byfuglien type cowbell? Am I nuts? While one of those answers is a clear YES, let's look into this a bit.
The Blues limped into the All Star break, dropping a 2-0 shutout to the Chicago Blackhawks and handing Corey "Ben Stiller's bigger douchebag brother" Crawford his ninth goose egg. Vomit! They do sit at third in the Western Conference, which isn't bad for a team that fans scream bloody murder about, go on rage eating binges at night and hunt for kidnapping equipment to snatch up Ken Hitchcock in Lafayette Square. While their record is nice, what does it really mean? Do they have a shot to plow deep into the playoffs this year? Does this current team give you real hope or is something missing?
Something like Byfuglien, who isn't exactly Andrew Shaw or Brent Seabrook but may be hated as much as either guy and also better than both. DB(initials I will use here because they match my own, so deal with it) has played forward and is a quality defenseman. He is currently in the last year of a five year, 26 million dollar contract with the Winnipeg Jets and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. While I don't see the Blues resigning this guy, he could be that rapid playoff run type injection Armstrong goes for to enliven this team. A 6 foot 5 inch 260 pound injection of "Get Out Of My Fucking Way". A bull!
The defensive ranks could use a boost too. Just look at them. Outside of the obvious Kevin Shattenkirk-Alex Pietrangelo-Colton Parayko unit, it's pretty drab down there. There's the limping Carl "You can't trade me back to Toronto for Polak" Gunnarsson. He sucks. There's old man river Jay Bouwmeester and his ridiculous long term contract that will eventually block the Blues from signing Shatty long term. There's the fierce yet always hurt Robert Bortuzzo. Joel Edmundsen is aggressive but a little stupid with the puck and needs more seasoning around the edges of his hockey IQ. A few good men and a bunch of okay's? Ouch.
Do the Blues upgrade and pry DB away from Winnipeg? If they seriously want to add something unique and different to this team, Byfuglien is that different blend of poison. He's a bastard, but only one you hate until he enters your locker room. Then he is your bastard and you love him, as long as he doesn't stay in town too long. Think of adding another layer of hot sauce to your mild buffalo wings.
Byfuglien is a beast. Love him or hate him, he is a defenseman who plays like a forward yet can clear up the area in front of the net like a gangster picks up payments on a few corners. He has racked up 40 point seasons in four of the past five years(short lockout exempt) and scored 12 or more goals eight different times in his ten year career. It'd be like adding a tougher meaner David Backes to your defensive core.
He added something extra spicy to that 2009-10 Blackhawks team, scoring 11 goals and 5 assists in 22 playoff games. He could be a difference maker in the playoffs. The kind of player you don't necessarily go looking for but one that could give a new shade of grey to your team. I mean, the Blues are a little soft and could use some grit that comes with a little skill.
Byfuglien has registered 151 shots on goal in 2015-16, scoring 12 goals and punching in 3 power play goals. Once again, he is a D-man who plays like a forward. A unique asset.
What would it cost? The Jets reportedly have talked about trying to resign DB this year to an extension but those talks haven't heated up so they may dish him out and get something in return. With DB and a winger like Andrew Ladd(who could be a Blues trade target as well) being UFA this summer, the Jets could retool their roster with some youth. They may ask for a Robby Fabbri or Kevin Shattenkirk, which would be a no.
With Ondrej Pavelic on Injured Reserved since November and the Jets sporting a couple young goaltenders in Connor Hellebuych and Michael Hutchinson, do the Jets need a goalie? Maybe someone as hot as Brian Elliott? That's tricky because Elliott is the backbone of the Blues right now(garnering a star of the week today) and the Blues still don't have a clear return date for Jake Allen. With a 22 year old and 25 year old already on the roster, the Jets wouldn't look for Jordan Bennington or Phoenix Copley. With Pavelic locked up for 2016-17, Elliott may not be their target of choice.
What if the Jets want David Backes? Hold your pitchforks and hear me out. The Blues Captain has talked with the team about an extension but with talks going nowhere, do the Blues try to get something for him now instead of watching him walk away? If the Jets fear they may lose Ladd at the end of the season or need depth up front, Backes could be a welcome addition. I love Backes and what he means to the team but the Blues offered a 3 year/15 million dollar deal in training camp and Backes balked. Do they offer more in June? Think about it. Backes and Byfuglien each make around 5 million, have been in league around 10 years, and are unrestricted free agents at the end. If Jets can work a deal out with Backes for an extension, does this work? There could be additional pieces so you never know.
I look at this Blues team and they get outmuscled by bigger teams and they get outshot and skid by on the play of their goaltending constantly. Byfuglien, love him or hate him, adds something unique and different. He may be a rental but he may be the type of player that is dual sided and helps the team where they struggle.
What do you think? Am I nuts or sorta less nuts?