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Why the Blues should trade Marco Scandella

My thoughts on the Blues defenseman have changed.

NHL: Seattle Kraken at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

I must admit that I was fine with St. Louis Blues defenseman Marco Scandella at the start of the 2021-22 NHL season. But now, I have my doubts about Scandella. And no, I’m not a Scandella hater or anything of the sort; I’m just sharing how I feel.

Earlier this week, I talked to a Blues fan friend about Scandella. I asked her why some Blues fans hate him so much. This was what she told me.

“His poor defensive performance is all it takes.”

“However, he has been playing well since December. I am not a fan and did say I wanted him traded in November, but I have nothing to complain about lately. He was just being forced to play top-line mins when he is a bottom-pairing defenseman. His problem was that he was overused, making his faults in play more evident.”

I can see my friend’s point, but I believe Scandella is going to finish the two and a half years left on his four-year, $13.1 million contract and continue being a veteran journeyman defenseman somewhere else. I have a hunch that he’ll go to the Arizona Coyotes or the New York Islanders, but we’ll see. The NHL’s trade deadline ends on Monday, March 21st.

Scandella has recorded just eight points (one goal, seven assists), a +3 rating, and 12 penalty minutes in 39 games so far this season. Okay, the +3 rating isn’t that bad, but he could be a better offensive defenseman who could play the defensive side of the puck, too.
I’m starting to understand why some Blues fans have a whipping boy to blame for the team’s struggles. If you were to ask me to choose a better defenseman between Scandella and Colton Parayko, I’d choose Parayko. His injuries might’ve slowed him down a bit, but he has been sparking the offensive defense alongside Niko Mikkola. He currently has 17 points (four goals, 13 assists), a -11 rating, and 12 penalty minutes in 37 games so far.

I recently read a previous St. Louis Post Dispatch article, and it mentioned how Blues head coach Craig Berube confirmed Scandella’s struggles were mental and added that it wasn’t just him who slowed down his team.

Berube said: “It’s mental, and I talked to the team today, but it’s not just Scandella.”

“I talked to the team today about composure and we know we didn’t have the composure that was needed (Saturday) night to make plays and make the right plays. Wanting the puck. It’s team, again, it’s all about the team, and as a team we didn’t have enough composure in the game ... and as a team we didn’t want the puck enough.”

Berube seems to like how Scandella plays in his system. I doubt I can disagree with Berube’s thoughts. Scandella seems like a nice guy who’s intelligent on and off the ice. He’s just not that good right now — unless he finds his way and stops looking flat-footed and/or lost in his own defensive zone.