Are the St. Louis Blues getting enough from Paul Stastny?
It's an important question to ask as the team severely struggles to score goals. In their last five games, they haven't scored more than two goals. In their last five games combined, the Blues have scored five goals. That's a problem. That has always been the problem with this team. The main thorn in their side the past couple of seasons. A lack of scoring from top players. Forget the defense leaving too much traffic in front of the net or the exaggerated goalie duel. This team can't fling the puck into the net.
Magnus Paajarvi has gotten his fair share of wrath. He's gotten too much attention, period. He stinks and isn't anything more than a 4th liner with speed and a limp duck shot. So where do you next? Go higher in the team food chain.
I look at Stastny, a guy who was brought in last year to enliven this offense and turn Vladimir Tarasenko into a legit star. The Tank has done just fine with and without Stastny, but the hometown kid hasn't put up the point totals fans and ownership expected. General Manager Doug Armstrong secured this supposed big piece and probably gave season ticket sales a moderate boost. There was a trend though that followed him him.
Stastny's point production has been trending in the wrong direction as he approaches the age(30) where point production tends to go downward. From 2006-10, Stastny's 82 game average was right around 76 points. 20-25 goals and around 50 assists with the Colorado Avalanche. Over the next few full seasons, Stastny began to contribute 55-60 point seasons. Then he came to St. Louis last season and provided 46 points in 74 games.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have advised a number of Blues fans to be patient and calm with Stastny. He's a playmaker and will get in tune. Well, that is wearing thin. Then again, 46 points in nearly a full season isn't noteworthy. Through 36 games this season, he's produced 24 points. Right on par for another 50 point season. Is that worth 6-7 million dollars?
I know, he hasn't been paired with Tarasenko and he lost his wingman in Jaden Schwartz months ago. He missed time with an injury of his own and has only four less points than Captain David Backes in nearly 20 less games. When you think of a playmaker, isn't it his job to make others around him better? Shouldn't Stastny bring out the best in the people his line? Isn't that why he is being paid the big bucks?
This team needs production. Not good efforts, tired excuses, speed and grit. They don't need to look at their injury toll(now just Schwartz) and say their point total is enough. That point total was enough 10 years ago. Now it's only an appetizer to what fans truly want. Playoff success. Every Blues winning streak carries a flyover effect of potential April doom. Every losing streak stamps the inevitable, whether it's fair or not.
If the playoffs started today, the Blues would be swept or beaten in five games by any of the teams they faced. They have played down to competition and they have gotten their ass kicked by better teams. Sure, they earned a gritty(there it is again) 1-0 consolation prize in Smashville but they got outworked and embarrassed in Chicago before the All Star Break by their nemesis, the Blackhawks.
They often get outshot by other teams. The Blues often can't find the net with their shots or they are easily gobbled up by the opposition. They were scoring goals in mid January when Robby Fabbri was going berserk but even his wicked talents have gone missing. Tarasenko hasn't scored in 11 games. David Backes hasn't scored since January 12th. Alex Steen has two goals in the new year so far. The main guys aren't producing and Stastny is at the front of that line. That nice two game spurt where he produced two goals and five points has expired from Excuseville.
The Blues need more from him. Don't bring up minutes. Stastny has logged 19-20 minutes a game in over 94 percent of his games since December 1st. He is getting the minutes and has gotten time on the top two lines. No matter where he sits, Stastny needs to do more. It's that time to ask big time players for big time efforts. The 68 percent faceoff win percentage is very nice to start a conversation about improvement, but at the end of the day, Stastny needs to provide more points.
Stop barking about goaltenders. Stop worrying about the defense. Start worrying about the high paid talent on this team not producing.
Right now, the Blues need more from Paul Stastny.