Care for a Ladd, Blues fans?
The Blues are having a nice February round of action. They have four wins in a row and an overall 6-1-1 record for the month that has driven them closer to the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars for the conference lead. The only problem is the team still can't score consistently, and while that looks like a mere roadblock right now when placed next to their record, the playoff spin a different story. Luck spins a different story. In six of those eight February games, the Blues have scored two goals or less. That's putrid and dependent on alien efficiency type goaltending(MOOOSSSSEEE!), and will soon go the other way. The bad way. So fix it. Add scoring depth. Rental or not, the team needs it.
The return of Jaden Schwartz is a solid boost, but the team needs more. The demotion of Magnus "Overrated Incarnate" Paajarvi worked. The size of Patrik Berglund has played well on the top line but without the much needed thing called POINTS. So you upgrade? If it costs you a young player and a draft pick or something you don't want to give, so be it. In this land of supply and demand, you have to give to get something juicy. Let's dig in further, shall we?
In 20 games in the New Year, the Blues have collected at least a single point in 16 of them. Impressive with the injuries, triple guessing and constant ledge humping. Still, can they score enough goals to win in the playoffs? The golden million dollar question still stands as a pointed topic of interest and constant speculation among fans and analysts. In 60 games, the Blues have scored just 147 goals(2.4 per game average). They rank 15th in the NHL in Corsi For(all shot attempts towards the net). Same as it ever was.
The return of Jaden Schwartz has helped but he isn't enough. He was here last year and couldn't lift this team above the ground of ineptitude. Should they look at adding a player? Someone that is on the trade block and could help this team fill out its depth when it came to scoring. Someone like Ladd.
The Winnipeg Jets left winger is on the trade block and could be going back to the Chicago Blackhawks unless the Blues step in and grab him. With the Jets handing Dustin Byfuglien the keys to the castle, Ladd is out there. Is he worth it? Sure he is. Ladd has racked up 15 goals this season to go with 17 assists. Eight of his goals have come on the power play, a place where the Blues are really sucking at these days. Ladd is Captain of the Jets and plays left wing, which would mean Magnus Paajarvi could finally be officially bumped off the active roster and the line depth would be significantly strengthened.
Ladd gives you leadership, the hunger to win, playoff experience and someone who could allow Ken Hitchcock to be positively reckless. Alex Steen has centered a line from time to time. You let Steen center a line with Ladd and David Backes on his wings. Two captains who can score working with the silky smooth Steen. That's just one scenario.
Ladd gives the Blues another goal scorer. Isn't that enough of a selling point? Now, what would it take? The Jets are craving young players and prospects so do you toss them Dmitrj Jaskin and a third round pic? With the acquisition of young Phoenix Copley, do you make Jordan Binnington expendable? Do you keep all these goaltenders or make them expendable for active duty?
Ladd may labeled a rental and that's fine. It's go all in right now or go home. Whatever it takes, the Blues have players that the Jets want. It won't be Kevin Shattenkirk or Steen. You can't make a fair trade for Ladd by handing them Patrik Berglund. So it may cost a young talent like Jaskin, someone who has taken a step back this year, to make it work. I'd be okay with that. Part of your team is aging and their contracts are finding the end so you may want to plunge in now.
Can they resign Backes? Will they resign Steen? Can they keep Shatty with the two big contracts of Petro and Jay Bo? What does this team look like in 2017-18? With that in mind and Elliott playing out of his mind and Allen being solid support, find some goals. Is Ladd really just a rental? What if the Blues and Backes can't agree on a contract and he departs? You can sign Ladd. He is 30 years old(two years younger than Backes after the captain turns 32 in May), still produces at a high level and is a leader.
Signing Ladd may just be a form of protection for Doug Armstrong moving forward as well as muscling up this year. The Blues are staring at the Tampa Bay Lightning like I stare down a five shot espresso at Starbucks, but what is there? Jonathan Drouin is playing NHL 17 in his loft and Steven Stamkos isn't going anywhere.
Fellow hockey mind Curt Chaplin mentioned Tyler Johnson, so maybe there is traction there. All I know is Ladd's name is out there and he could help this team right now. The juice may be worth the squeeze here. Ladd wouldn't have be labeled the savior or the MISSING PIECE. Just someone who can score and has experience and leads.
What do you think, Blues addicts? Am I crazy or close to something real? Tell me below in the comments!