When it comes to the St. Louis Blues, buy more bourbon. Let’s recap a tough week.
Remember when Troy Brouwer tripped over the front of the net while scoring the game winning goal in Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks? That was great, right? Well, he’s playing in Calgary this winter.
Remember David Backes scoring a pair of game winning goals in the playoffs? The Captain rises! As resilient as valyrian steel. He’s shacking up in Boston for the next five years.
How about Brian “Moooosssseeee” Elliott? So stout this year. He was as reliable in net the last five months of the season as a dragon in Westeros. He’s minding the Calgary net.
Steve Ott and who gives a shit but you get the point.
This Blues team got different very quick and it’s left fans in a haze. Not quite X Box 360 red bull engaged but plenty concerned about the coming season or two.
Should we be surprised? Many had a feeling Backes was gone and Brouwer may want to cash off a solid season. Elliott wanted to be a #1 and played like it so why not demand a trade?
I wrote during the Cup run that this 2015-16 team felt like a swan song. A suicide squad. Something that wasn’t going to stay together for too long. With Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Steen entering contract years, it could look even more different next summer so don’t think the turnover is finished.
To quote Gene Hackman from an underrated Tony Scott film, General Manager Doug Armstrong is either very smart or incredibly stupid. He’s either hedging his bets for a future move or he’s reloading the roster for new coach Mike Yeo in 2017-18(or potentially during the middle of the 2016-17 season). The trade market for big bodies is thin and the trade return for Shatty has been turned down to low so what else can he do?
Dave Krejci? The Boston Bruins center costs more than Backes would have over the next five seasons so no. Loui? Apparently, Doug said no several times.
Don’t be so sour on David Perron. The Frenchman is only 28 years old and has 141 goals to his credit. That’s not lightweight. He’s older and wiser, and Ken Hitchcock asked Army to pursue him. This man isn’t playing on the top line. He’ll take Brouwer’s spot on the third line. If Hitch doesn’t like Paul Stastny with Vladimir Tarasenko, I’d like to see what Stastny could do with Perron. He might turn the French stick artist into something truly ridiculous.
While the loss of Elliott is hard, I understand the Blues need to move with Jake Allen. Moose wanted a #1 net and he wasn’t getting it here. That is the one event this week I could understand the team making and also why fans were upset. Most Stanley Cup winners don’t have a 1A and 1B goaltending situation.
With the return of Scottie Upshall and Kyle Brodziak with the impending return of Vladimir Sobotka, the fourth line seems all but set. Ryan Reaves will get in there from time to time but this team is reformatting itself as one based on speed and not size. Reaves is their biggest forward now. Take that for change.
Change. That is the moral of this Blues offseason story. They lost their Captain, #1 goalie, and a trusted playoff source of production. They lost a pest and gained an older original core member. Their goaltending now includes one stud and not two. Their playoff chances aren’t dim yet don’t exist as locked in as they were in past seasons.
The 2016-17 Blues just became unpredictable. Youth will get a chance to shine now but not every up and comer beams as bright as a Fabbri or Colton Parayko.
What if Allen gets hurt? Can Carter Hutton hold the fort for a team that relied on solid defense over heavy stretches? What if 91 goes down? Can the team score enough? What if the happy time between two head coaches on one bench turns into tension?
It’s okay to freak out and drink more alcohol this weekend to wash away these Blues wounds. It’s never easy saying goodbye to trusted producers. It’s also okay to remain calm and see how Armstrong plays this deck of cards. Each side can’t be faulted for their reactions after the team’s deepest run in a decade.
Know this. This current team couldn’t handle the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars in the playoffs. This team looks a lot more different and foreign than last year’s Blues team. This 2016-17 team may fight their way into the playoffs but it’s no guarantee.
Let’s hope Armstrong knows what he is doing.
In the mean time, I’ll instruct you as I always have. Buy more bourbon.